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Abstract

This paper seeks to expand our understanding of initial trust by looking at how variation in risk influences the nature of trust and the process of initial trust formation. Four hypotheses were tested in two experiments involving participants with and without work experience. A first hypothesis suggested a positive relationship between a general propensity to trust and initial trust; a second hypothesis, a negative relationship between risk and initial trust; whereas a third hypothesis posited that risk would increase the importance participants place on benevolence and integrity. A fourth hypothesis suggested that risk would have a positive and moderating influence on the effect of out-of-role behavior when presented after role-conformant in-role behavior. Findings are presented and discussed and practical implications suggested.