Getting off on the right foot: The role of openness to experience in fostering initial trust between culturally dissimilar partners


Cross-cultural partnerships can provide a competitive edge for organizations, but also hinder trust between individuals, and thus the flow of diverse knowledge that facilitates positive organizational outcomes. We investigate whether openness to experience (openness, in short) protects against lower trust in cross-cultural partnerships by weakening the effect of cultural diversity on trust formation processes (defined by perceived similarity and trustworthiness, serially). We randomly assigned White, American participants to partners from either the same or different (i.e., Chinese) cultural background. After introductions, participants rated their partner's similarity and trustworthiness, and played a game assessing behavioral trust. Openness was measured 3–7 days prior. People high (versus low) on openness were more trusting towards culturally dissimilar partners because they perceived them as more similar, and thus more trustworthy.

Publication Title

Journal of Research in Personality