A West–East Perspective
Edited by Hans-Hermann Höhmann and Friederike Welter
Chapter 9: Trust-Milieus of Russian SMEs: Cross-regional Comparisons
9. Trust-milieus of Russian SMEs: cross-regional comparisons1 Alexander Chepurenko and Elena Malieva INTRODUCTION It is well known that in Russia – a country with complicated transition patterns and a fragile environment – purely economic constraints are overlapped by a degree of high uncertainty concerning the framework of an entrepreneurial activity. Hence, trust – (inter)personal as well as systemic (being divided into collective, based on shared informal norms and values, and institutional, relating to formal social institutions and actors) (Dei Ottati 2002, pp. 27–9; Höhmann and Malieva 2002, pp. 12–15; Smallbone and Lyon 2002, pp. 21–2; Welter 2002, pp. 37–9) – may play a crucial role for the development of any kind of transaction. Entrepreneurs have to build up (and remain embedded in) certain rules and norms which regulate their decision-making in a very flexible and unpredictable environment. This means, they know the people they trust and they trust the people they know (Oleynik 2001, pp. 4–26; Rose 2000). Only gradually, as they develop broader networks as the business matures, do firms move from trust relations based on their family and friends to a wider field of trust ties, grounded on successful reciprocal relations with other economic actors (Shastitko 2002, pp. 36–8). Apparently, a lack of commonly accepted institutions, on which institutional trust could be founded, is due to the high degree of distrust in the state (which can be partly explained by the fact that during a state of transition governing institutions change so rapidly that...
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