To identify studies for our meta-analysis, we first searched the Business Source Complete and PsycINFO databases for the period 1887–2010. We used the keywords trust* (to capture studies on trust or trustworthiness) together with at least one of history, duration, length, time, and frequency as well as at least one of data, empirical, test, statistical, finding*, result*, and evidence. This filtering resulted in 1,435 and 2,351 articles (respectively) culled from the two databases. Second, we considered all articles published since 1980 that mentioned “trust” (or a variant thereof) in the following journals (based on Geyskens, Steenkamp, and Kumar, 2006): Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business Research, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Management Science, Marketing Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Organization Science, Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Science, and Strategic Management Journal. Third, we examined the references listed in review articles on trust (Colquitt et al., 2007; Dirks and Ferrin, 2002; Ebert, 2007; Geyskens et al., 1998; Swan et al., 1999). Fourth, we sent a request for unpublished studies to approximately 350 trust researchers. Finally, we went through the reference section of each relevant paper identified previously.
We included a study if it met three conditions. First, it had to employ a construct of trust or trustworthiness broadly consistent with the definitions of Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman (1995) and Rousseau et al. (1998), see the Theory section. Second, it had to report the sample size and pairwise correlation between trust and relationship duration; these values are required for conducting a meta-analysis. Third, the study had to be at the interpersonal or interorganizational level (we shall report any differences in findings for these two levels).