Mediating role of risk perception of trust and contract enforcement in the construction industry

Hongjiang Yao, Yongqiang Chen, Yuting Chen, Xingyu Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Contract violations have become common problems in construction projects, yet little of the construction contract literature addresses the question of responses to contract violations (i.e., contract enforcement). This research investigates the effects of trust on contract enforcement in a principal–agent relationship and explores the mediating role of risk perception on those effects. The authors distributed 429 electronic questionnaires and received 280 responses. After deleting responses completed in under 100 s and nonmanager responses, we narrowed the total to 253 valid responses from professionals in the Chinese construction industry. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses in this study, and the findings revealed that goodwill-based trust diminishes the severity of contract enforcement, while perceived relational risk and perceived performance risk increase the severity of contract enforcement. Mediation analyses also support the mediating role of perceived relational risk on the effect of goodwill-based trust on contract enforcement. The findings contribute to contract theory by providing a thorough understanding of contract enforcement and developing a conceptual framework consisting of trust, perceived risk, and contract enforcement. Managers from violating parties may benefit from this article through an understanding of the role of trust and perceived risk in dealing with a contract violation and following the strategies recommended for diminishing the severity of contract enforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04018130
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number2
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2019


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