Trust in Small Business Decision Making

How do customers view trust in small business owners? Optometrists are both health care providers and small business owners and must create trust in both venues.

Humphreys (1993) asks four ethical questions that small business need to answer if they are to create and retain the “trust” of their patients or customers. What is unique about this study is it separates decision making of small from large business, a critical factor on examining the behavior of small business and their customers.

Of the four ethical questions asked, product cheating that the owner and the customer are aware of at some level carries the strongest correlation of mistrust by customers towards small business owners. The remaining questions of lying to customers; intentional deception of customers and violating labor laws were weaker in creating mistrust but were still positive in correlation.

In conclusion, ethical behavior is elemental to trust.  With trust, success as a business is one step closer to reality.

Humphreys, N., Robin, D. P., Reidenbach, R., & Moak, D. L. (1993). THE ETHICAL DECISION MAKING PROCESS OF SMALL BUSINESS OWNER/MANAGERS AND THEIR CUSTOMERS. Journal of Small Business Management, 31(3), 9-22. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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About Richard Hom OD, MPA

Dr. Hom holds Doctor of Optometry and Masters in Public Administration degrees and practices family eye care and consults on public policy, health information technology and program evaluation.
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