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The Role of Procedural Fairness in Trust and Trustful Behavior

Patrick A. Müller (), Rainer Greifeneder (), Dagmar Stahlberg (), Kees Van den Bos () and Herbert Bless ()
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Patrick A. Müller: Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Postal: Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
Rainer Greifeneder: Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Postal: L 13, 15, D-68131 Mannheim
Dagmar Stahlberg: Lehrstuhl fuer Sozialpsychologie, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Postal: Seminargebaeude A5, D-68131 Mannheim
Kees Van den Bos: Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Postal: Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
Herbert Bless: Mikrosoziologie und Sozialpsychologie Universität Mannheim, Postal: Seminargebäude A 5 D-68131 Mannheim

No 08-21, Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications from Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim

Abstract: Both fairness and trust are crucial to our willingness to cooperate with others. Whereas the importance of both fairness and trust for social interactions has been subject to empirical investigation, less is known about the interplay between the two constructs. In the present work, we investigated whether procedural fairness causally determines trust. Specifically, in two experiments we tested whether perceived procedural fairness increases trust and trustful behavior in social exchange situation. Importantly, to directly address the causal link between procedural fairness and trust without triggering other, fairness-unrelated considerations about the procedure, we manipulated perceived fairness by way of a new paradigm. This paradigm allows changing fairness perceptions while keeping the fairness procedure constant. Results demonstrate that changes in perceived fairness of a procedure lead to changes in the willingness to entrust money to another participant. This finding illustrates that trust judgments and trustful behavior can be influenced by procedural fairness judgments. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2008-12-03
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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