The effect of groups on trust violation and recovery

Marcos Paulo Albarello Friedrich, Kenny Basso, Lélis Balestrin Espartel, Vitor Francisco Dalla Corte


Objective: This study explores the effect of groups in client trust violation and consequent recovery. Moreover, the group polarization effect is examined as the mechanism to explain this effect.

Method: Two experimental studies were used to test four hypotheses. Each experiment used a different context. Study 1 was based on hotel service, while Study 2 was based on taxi service. We used ANOVA to test the main effects and a mediation analysis to test the role of group polarization.

Main results: The presence of a group will enhance the erosion of a client’s trust in cases of failure and increase the effectiveness of the trust recovery attempt. Moreover, the results demonstrate that the manipulation of the number of individuals has a significant effect on the trust violation and recovery and that these relationships are mediated by a group polarization effect.

Theoretical contribution: Most trust violation and recovery studies have addressed individual subjects. However, in consumption situations, clients are frequently found to be in groups. Thus, this study highlights how the presence of a group can influence trust violation and recovery.

Managerial implications: In the case of client groups, service failure can be expected to have a greater impact on client trust and can be more decisive in creating negative behaviors. To restore trust, it was found that client groups have a higher positive variation of trust than when they are alone, which influences in the efficacy of recovery tactics.


Trust; Trust violation; Trust recovery; Group polarization effect; Service.

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