Chapter 15: Levels of Inter-Organizational Trust: Conceptualization and Measurement
Martyna Janowicz and Niels Noorderhaven Introduction The notion of trust has received increasing attention in recent years. It is pointed to as an important factor for understanding human nature and exchange relationships of market participants. In particular, trust is considered to be a variable of importance in inter-organizational collaborations (e.g. Gulati 1995; Madhok 1995). However, interorganizational relations constitute a very speciﬁc context where those who frame the strategic intentions of collaborating organizations are often distinct from those who actually implement them – a consideration that is rarely reﬂected in research on interorganizational alliances (Salk and Simonin 2003). This should be taken into account in studying inter-organizational relationships, especially since in such a context trust of individuals at diﬀerent hierarchical levels is likely to diﬀer in causes and consequences (e.g. Anderson and Narus 1990; Zaheer et al. 2002). Research on trust in inter-organizational relationships is quite short of studies that go beyond one level of analysis (c.f. Doney and Cannon 1997). The few studies that do adopt a multilevel approach to studying inter-organizational trust often substantially vary in how they deﬁne levels of trust. In speciﬁc, various approaches diﬀer in the level of aggregation at which the parties to the inter-organizational relationship, that is, the trustor and the trustee, have been conceptualized. This in turn ﬁnds reﬂection in divergent empirical treatments of trust at those levels and inconsistent ﬁndings in empirical research. Besides the various approaches oﬀering unique strengths and weaknesses, of both...
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