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Trust under Pressure

Empirical Investigations of Trust and Trust Building in Uncertain Circumstances

Edited by Katinka Bijlsma-Frankema and Rosalinde Klein Woolthuis

This book challenges the current thinking on trust largely based on studies in stable contexts, by presenting new empirical studies of trust and trust building in a number of less stable, less institutionalized settings. These contexts are gaining in prominence given the globalization and virtualization of organizational relations, development of high velocity markets, and the growing importance of intangible resources.
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Chapter 4: Breaking Out of Distrust: Preconditions for Trust and Cooperation between Small Businesses in Tanzania

Malin Tillmar


Malin Tillmar SMALL BUSINESSES AND TRUST IN TANZANIA The importance of small businesses as catalysts for development as well as livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa has been widely recognized (Olomi, 1999a). In Tanzania, small businesses have increasingly become important as sources of both employment and additional income, as the public sector has been shrinking (Tibandebade et al., 2001). Cooperation and networking between such small enterprises provide opportunities for them to overcome the liabilities of smallness, to survive and grow (Trulsson, 1997; K’obonyo, 1999). Through social and professional networks, they can access skills, market information, production networks and finance (McCormick, 1996). Studies in Tanzania have strongly indicated that such cooperation is constrained by lack of trust (Æerøe, 1991, 1992; Trulsson, 1997; Bågens, 1998). Trulsson (1997) notes that building relations of trust is a deliberate strategy in handling the institutional environment, but few studies go further in elaborating on the issue of trust between businesses in the Tanzanian context (compare Æerøe, 1991; Bågens, 1993). Within the expanding literature on trust, there is often a lack of conceptual clarity (compare Mayer et al. 1995; Huemer, 1998). Views differ regarding functions, reasons and the evolution of trust, as well as the appropriate level of analysis. Many argue that trust is influenced by culture (Fukuyama, 1996; Sztompka, 1999) and/or the institutional framework (Zucker, 1986; Sztompka, 1999). Bachmann (2000) has brought forward that cultural comparisons would be important for theoretical development on trust.1 This chapter aims to contribute insights through studying cooperation...

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