I'm Interested in Trust and Authenticity in the Marketplace

specifically, I focus on such issues as trust and distrust, truth and falsehood, the sincere and the phony, and the authentic and the fake.


Consumers often face questions about fabrication and fact. For example, they may wonder whether their mechanic is telling the truth about the need for a repair or whether the “Ab-maxer Plus” advertised on TV will truly make them lose weight. They may worry about whether their lawyer is really spending 30 billable hours per week on their case, or whether a baseball they bought on eBay was actually hit by a famous home-run player.

My research investigates how consumers handle these perceived uncertainties and vulnerabilities. More

In a related research area, I study companies that use direct selling and network marketing as a channel of distribution.  Direct selling is the sale of consumer goods in non-retail locations such as the home or the workplace.  Network marketing (also called multi-level marketing or MLM) is a type of direct selling that uses social networks to develop a customer base and a home-based distribution network.  My research examines these unique marketing systems and investigates issues relating to relationship marketing, social networks, salesforce compensation and selling strategies, as well as the fabrication and fact topics listed above.

Earlier in my career, I focused on understanding and measuring customer satisfaction in service contexts.

If you're interested in trust, check out The Trust Project at Northwestern, which I organized and created with Jamie Rosman, Devin Rapson, and Leah Davis.  I also Tweet about trust @kentgraysonClick here to be directed to my Google Scholar page, and click below for a copy of my vita.