HOW ETHICAL AND LEGAL NORMS INFLUENCE TRUST FROM A MULTIDIMENSIONAL PERSPECTIVE IN STUDENTS WITH AND WITHOUT ENTREPRENEURIAL INTENTION?
Trust is a key element in relations (Deutsch, 1958; Kramer, 2006; Lane, 1998) both personal and economic, and a fundamental element of social capital (Coleman, 1988; Fukuyama, 1995; Putnam, 2002). In fact, it is considered as one of the basic variables in any human interaction (Gambetta, 1988), and becomes more important and even critical in periods of uncertainty (Luhmann, 1996; McKnight and Chervany, 1996).
In the field of entrepreneurship, trust is a key variable due to its possible influence on attitudes, subjective norms and perceived control that influence the entrepreneurial intention. This relationship between entrepreneurship and trust, though it is recognized, has not been explored in depth, especially the analysis of the influence of ethical and legal issues in building trust. In the decision to start a business the entrepreneur assumes individual, relational and institutional risks, conditioned by personal, social, and cultural aspects, in which ethics, and legal rules and institutions are key elements to build the necessary trust to start a business.
To facilitate coexistence and common benefit, societies provide themselves with ethical and legal frameworks that serve to guide people’s behavior (Rousseau, 2002; Hobbes, 2013; Weber, 1985; Hume, 1999, 2013; Locke, 2009; Hobbes, 2013; Paris, 2014; Bonnet, 2013; González, 2013; Damm, 2011, 2014; Romano, 2014; Nozick, 2013; Dawkins, 2006; Putnam, 2005). Thus, legal rules recognize, protect and safeguard a collection of rights at different levels: individual, relational, and general. However, law enforcement may not be the most appropriate way to protect rights and expectations, because in most cases it will be a slow, and an expensive method, which results are also subject to some uncertainty. This situation highlights the limited role of law and the importance of ethics as a basis for human interchange (Smith, 2013; Blomqvist, 1997; Argandoña, 1999). Legal rules presuppose ethical and moral norms, although legal rules are not a pleonasm of the moral or ethical standards, but ethics and moral are the basis on which law is built (Kant, 2003; Rosen, 1996; Luhmann, 2006, 2013). Particularly, trust is closely related to the concept of good faith that is one of the general principles of law (Rodriguez, 2005; Hoyo and Sanchez, 2014).
The aim of this paper is to analyze the ethical and legal influence on trust and entrepreneurship, to determine to what extent both issues affect trust in its different forms of systemic, relational and personal trust, both in students with and without entrepreneurial intention. A stewardship approach (Davis et al., 1997) as the underlying assumption of human behavior based on trust and alignment of objectives seems more compatible with the development of a sustainable, balanced and fair socio-economic system that agency theory based on opportunism and divergent interests.