During the past two decades the literatures on strategic management and organizational theory have exploded with papers studying the impact of trust on exchange relationships, be they dyadic or within anetwork. Scholars have investigated how trust can be built (Gulati, 1995;Nooteboom, 1996; Zaheer et al., 1998; Lorenz, 1999; Lewicki et al., 2006), how it is maintained and used (Barney and Hansen, 1994; Nooteboom et al., 1997; Zaheer et al., 1998; Dirks et al., 2009; Gillespie and Dietz, 2009), the ways in which trust is damaged (Robinson, 1996; Zaheer et al., 1998), and the implications on the relationship when it is lost (Bies and Tripp, 1996; Dirks and Ferrin, 2001). Most of the research adopts units of analysis that reflect inter-personal relationships. For example, scholars in organizational behavior mostly explore how trust operates within groups or between superiors and subordinates (Dirks and Ferrin, 2001; Ferrin et al., 2006). Some scholars have explored the role of trust in the structuring and performance of inter-organizational exchanges (Chiles and Mc Mackin, 1996; Nooteboom, 1996; Nooteboom et al., 1997; Gulati and Nickerson, 2008), including the role of inter-personal trust in inter-organizational trust (for example, Zaheer et al., 1998).
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