Empirical study of trust in Chinese organizations: Joint venture versus state-owned enterprise

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Culture offers an important setting for entrepreneurship to grow, and trust is critical for entrepreneurship to thrive. In recent years, there has been debate whether Chinese culture facilitates or hinders entrepreneurship; there has also been a call for empirical investigation of trust in entrepreneurship research. Our paper investigates the relationship between Chinese cultural values and two kinds of trust, in two different enterprises as two subcultures in China. The two kinds of trust are dispositional trust and interpersonal trust; and the two enterprises are a joint venture and a state-owned enterprise. We composed questionnaire from established work about trust and cultural values, ran survey research on 226 employees in the two organizations in China, and analyzed the survey data by descriptive statistics, factor analysis, correlations, and MANOVA. We found that dispositional trust and interpersonal trust are different at individual level; Chinese cultural values correlate significantly with both dispositional trust and interper-sonal trust, and positively correlate to both kinds of trust. Employees in the state-owned enterprise held higher level of Chinese cultural values but had lower level of interpersonal trust, which suggests potential problems in its management. Our study is one of the recent studies that separately measure dispositional trust and interpersonal trust, and our findings across two different types of organizations have practical implications for entrepreneurship research in China. Our study is also one of the recent studies that find Chinese cultural values may benefit trust in enterprises, although some earlier studies suggested the opposite.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-166
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Enterprising Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015