Trust is a crucial factor for the long-term
economic success of a company. However, not only does
the company establish trust, but the CEO representing
the company builds up trust as well and, therefore, also
influences the company’s success. Our study examines
how different dimensions of trust (i.e., ability, integrity,
benevolence, and information quality) influence the
degree of overall trust in a company and in CEOs.
Nevertheless, dimensions that influence trust in a CEO
can be completely different to those influencing trust in
companies. Companies and CEOs that act on an international
level can hardly be experienced individually, and
thus people get information about the company via media
use. Therefore, additionally we examine which kind of
media is used for getting information about a company or
CEO and whether a relationship exists between media
use and trust. Findings from a survey in Switzerland
(n = 245) show that companies are more trusted than
CEOs and that the items which influence overall trust
differ between CEOs and companies. Social responsibility
as a benevolence item is important for both groups.
Regarding information on different media channels, users
of traditional media like newspapers, TV, and radio are
most critical regarding trust in companies and CEOs.