Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders
Chapter 11: Cross-cultural comparative case studies: a means of uncovering dimensions of trust
The aim of this chapter is to highlight the value of cross-cultural case study design, as a means of maintaining reflexivity in uncovering dimensions of trust. This will be done through sharing experiences from my studies that were undertaken between 1997 and 2002 and led to my PhD thesis ‘Swedish tribalism and Tanzanian Agency: preconditions for trust and cooperation in a small business context’ (Tillmar, 2002). The research strategy was to carry out qualitative case studies in rural areas in my home country – Sweden – and in a different cultural and institutional context – Tanzania. My ambition in this chapter is to engage in an exercise of reflexivity that interprets my own interpretations (Alvesson and Sköldberg, 2000). One ambition in the thesis was to acknowledge the context dependency of cooperation and trust by studying and comparing small business cooperation in two different settings. Another aim was to suggest a more general and coherent conceptual framework that would make it possible to distinguish the various facets of trust. The choice of conducting qualitative case studies was not too difficult for several reasons. Trust is a social phenomenon that is hard to measure adequately and I took special interest in contextual preconditions (cf. Welter and Alex, Chapter 6 in this volume).
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