Influence of customer and organisational religiosity on the development of customer trust in financial services marketing relationships
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date10/07/2020
Alhazmi, Basem Masoud
The primary objective of this thesis is to develop a testable conceptual framework that investigates the influence of religiosity on the development of trust in financial services marketing relationships. Guided by the framework for measuring trustworthiness and trust in financial services (Ennew et al, 2011, Ennew and Sekhon, 2007, Sekhon et al, 2014), a novel approach has been adopted to develop a conceptual model that integrates relevant religious constructs whose underpinnings originate from various areas of the literature. In particular, it delineates several trusting beliefs relevant to an organisation’s religious and non-religious attributes that profoundly influence trust through its effect on trustworthiness. Namely, these are expertise and competence, integrity and consistency, effective communication, shared values, concern and benevolence, and organisational religiosity. Also, the model examines the role of customer religiosity on the formation of customer trust in the financial services organisation through its intrapersonal (cognitive) and interpersonal (behavioural) religious effects. The thesis research design consists of two elements, namely an exploratory component, initially implemented in the form of semi-structured interviews and a focus group with banking customers a banking manager, to complement findings from the literature review and inform methodological procedures choices of the research, and a survey component utilised to collect quantitative data. Subsequently, the conceptual model has been validated and tested using 765 self-administered survey responses from a convenience sample of banking customers in Saudi Arabia. Then, the data were subjected to an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) to assess the validity of the measurement constructs. Next, an evaluation of the research model's validity and dimensionality using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA); finally, research hypotheses were examined using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) in SPSS Amos. The main theoretical contribution of this research is the assessment of the formation of trust in financial services marketing relationships through the religious lens, which provides an enhanced look at how trust develops between customers and financial organisations. Notably, two organisational religiosity dimensions, namely organisational religious observance and organisational religious promotion, have positive and negative effects on organisational trustworthiness, respectively. Also, the research theoretically contributes to the understanding of how trust develops at the individual personal level and shows that two customer religiosity constructs have unique and opposite effects on trust. Mainly, intrapersonal (cognitive) customer religiosity negatively influences customer trust in the organisation, while interpersonal (behavioural) customer religiosity has a positive influence on trust. Moreover, non-religious drivers of trust, such as Care and Consistency, Expertise and Competence, Effective Communication, have been shown to influence customer perceptions of an organisation’s trustworthiness. Finally, banking customers differ in their trust and perceptions of an organisation’s trustworthiness based on the banking model (Islamic versus dual window) and length of the buyer-seller relationship. The findings of this thesis provide researchers of trust with a new and fresh approach to viewing trust in financial services. Notably, they point to the customer and organisational religious commitment constructs as essential determinants of trust in financial services marketing relationships. Customer trust remains a complex, ambiguous, yet extremely crucial phenomenon to the success of financial services marketing relationships. Significant advances in the financial services literature have been made to understand the concept and unbox its mysteries. The trust–religiosity model in financial services proposed and tested in this thesis, contributes to the trust theory on this vital issue in the field. Also, findings should alert financial institutions to the importance of personal religious attributes of their customers, while formulating their marketing and promotional strategies. Banking customers may display different trusting attitudes towards their banks based on their level of religious commitment, with cognitively religious customers displaying pronounced distrust and scepticism toward their financial institutions. Conversely, customers displaying stronger behavioural religiosity hold more favourable trusting attitudes toward their banking service providers. Furthermore, the results provide useful insights for institutions by recognising key religious and non-religious factors that should be considered in their trustworthiness maintenance strategies.