A Multi-agent Model of Deceit and Trust in Intercultural Trade

  • Gert Jan Hofstede
  • Catholijn M. Jonker
  • Tim Verwaart
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5796)


Trust is a sine qua non for trade. According to transaction cost economics, a contract always offers some opportunity to defect. In the case of asymmetric product information, where the seller is better informed about product quality than the buyer is, the buyer either has to rely on information provided by the seller or has to check the information by testing the product or tracing the supply chain processes, thus incurring extra transaction cost. An opportunistic seller who assumes the buyer to trust, may deliver a lower quality product than agreed upon. In human decisions to deceive and to show trust or distrust toward business partners, issues like morality, shame, self-esteem, and reputation are involved. These factors depend strongly on trader’s cultural background. This paper develops an agent model of deceit and trust and describes a multi-agent simulation where trading agents are differentiated according to Hofstede’s dimensions of national culture.


trust and reputation management deceit negotiation trade partner selection culture 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Williamson, O.E.: Transaction cost economics: how it works; where it is headed. De Economist 146(1), 23–58 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Klein Woolthuis, R., Hillebrand, B., Nooteboom, B.: Trust, Contract and Relationship Development. Organization Studies 26(6), 813–840 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tykhonov, D., Jonker, C., Meijer, S., Verwaart, T.: Agent-Based Simulation of the Trust and Tracing Game for Supply Chains and Networks. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 11(3), 1 (2008), Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Boles, T.L., Croson, R.T.A., Murnighan, J.K.: Deception and Retribution in Repeated Ultimatum Bargaining. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 83(2), 235–259 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Triandis, H.C., et al.: Culture and Deception in Business Negotiations: A Multilevel Analysis. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management 1, 73–90 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zaheer, S., Zaheer, A.: Trust across borders. Journal of International Business Studies 37, 21–29 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hofstede, G.: Culture’s Consequences, 2nd edn. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks (2001)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hofstede, G.J., Jonker, C.M., Verwaart, T.: Modeling Power Distance in Trade. In: David, N., Sichmann, J.S. (eds.) MABS 2008. LNCS, vol. 5269, pp. 1–16. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hofstede, G.J., Jonker, C.M., Verwaart, T.: Modeling Culture in Trade: Uncertainty Avoidance. In: 2008 Agent-Directed Simulation Symposium (ADSS 2008), Spring Simulation Multiconference 2008, pp. 143–150, SCS, San Diego (2008)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hofstede, G.J., Jonker, C.M., Verwaart, T.: Individualism and Collectivism in Trade Agents. In: Nguyen, N.T., Borzemski, L., Grzech, A., Ali, M. (eds.) IEA/AIE 2008. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 5027, pp. 492–501. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hofstede, G.J., Jonker, C.M., Meijer, S., Verwaart, T.: Modeling Trade and Trust across Cultures. In: Stølen, K., Winsborough, W.H., Martinelli, F., Massacci, F. (eds.) iTrust 2006. LNCS, vol. 3986, pp. 120–134. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hofstede, G.J., Jonker, C.M., Verwaart, T.: Long-term Orientation in Trade. In: Schredelseker, K., Hauser, F. (eds.) Complexity and Artificial Markets. LNEMS, vol. 614, pp. 107–118. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wirtz, J., Kum, D.: Consumer Cheating on Service Guarantees. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 32(2), 159–175 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hwang, P., Burgers, W.P.: Apprehension and Temptation: The Forces against Cooperation. Journal of Conflict Resolution 43(1), 117–130 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Steinel, W., De Dreu, K.W.: Social Motives and Strategic Misrepresentation in Social Decision Making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86, 419–434 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Olekalns, M., Smith, P.L.: Mutually Dependent: Trust, Affect and the Use of Deception in Negotiation. Journal of Business Ethics 85, 347–365 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Castelfranchi, C., Falcone, R., De Rosis, F.: Deceiving in GOLEM: how to strategically pilfer help. In: Castelfranchi, C., Tan, Y.H. (eds.) Trust and Deception in Virtual Societies, pp. 91–110. Kluwer, Dordrecht (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ward, D., Hexmoor, H.: Towards deception in agents. In: AAMAS 2003, Proceedings, pp. 1154–1155. ACM, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Burgoon, J.K., Stoner, G.M., Bonito, J.A., Dunbar, N.E.: Trust and Deception in Mediated Communication. In: Proceedings of HICSS 2003 - Track1, p. 44. IEEE, Los Alamitos (2003)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jonker, C.M., Treur, J.: Formal analysis of models for the dynamics of trust based on experiences. In: Garijo, F.J., Boman, M. (eds.) MAAMAW 1999. LNCS, vol. 1647, pp. 120–134. Springer, Heidelberg (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gert Jan Hofstede
    • 1
    • 2
  • Catholijn M. Jonker
    • 2
  • Tim Verwaart
    • 3
  1. 1.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.LEI Wageningen URDen HaagThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations