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Handbook of Trust Research

Edited by Reinhard Bachmann and Akbar Zaheer

The Handbook of Trust Research presents a timely and comprehensive account of the most important work undertaken in this lively and emerging field over the past ten to fifteen years. Presenting a broad range of approaches to issues on trust, the Handbook features 22 articles from a variety of disciplines on the study of trust in both organizational and societal contexts. With contributions from some of the most eminent names in the field of trust research, this international collaboration is an imaginative and informative reference tool to aid research in this engaging area for years to come.
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Chapter 15: Levels of Inter-Organizational Trust: Conceptualization and Measurement

Martyna Janowicz and Niels Noorderhaven


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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