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Relationship marketing: an S–O–R perspective emphasising the importance of trust in retail banking

Mornay Roberts-Lombard (Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Daniël Johannes Petzer (Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Sandton, South Africa)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 22 February 2021

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021




Using the stimulus–organism–response (S–O–R) framework, this study investigates the role of trust (organism) in influencing the behavioural intentions (response) of emerging market retail banking customers, based on the banks' selected customer-focused efforts (stimuli) to influence behavioural intentions. The study also looks at the moderating effects of customers' perceived value and the duration of their support on these relationships.


The data analysed were collected from 599 retail banking customers in an emerging market via a self-administered questionnaire.


Customer-focused efforts, except for expertise, significantly and positively influence trust. Trust partially mediates the relationships between the remaining customer-focused efforts and behavioural intentions. Furthermore, perceived value moderates the relationships between these stimuli and trust, excluding information sharing. The duration of customer support for the bank also moderates the relationships between these stimuli and trust, bar customer orientation.

Research limitations/implications

The study augments the understanding of trust's role as the organism from an S–O–R framework perspective.

Practical implications

The study assists banks in emerging markets in understanding trust's role in influencing customers' behavioural intentions, given the application of selected customer-focused efforts. It highlights the significance of perceived value and duration of customer support in the relationships between these customer-focused efforts and trust.


Using a single S–O–R framework, the role of trust in mediating the relationships between retail banks' selected customer-focused efforts and customers' behavioural intentions is uncovered.



Funding: This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of South Africa under Grant [number 96188].Disclosure statement: Any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the authors and the National Research Foundation of South Africa does not accept any liability in this regard.


Roberts-Lombard, M. and Petzer, D.J. (2021), "Relationship marketing: an S–O–R perspective emphasising the importance of trust in retail banking", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 725-750.



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