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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 7: Trust in a Dynamic Environment: Fast Trust as a Threshold Condition for Asymmetric Technology Partnership Formation in the ICT Sector

Kirsimarja Blomqvist


Kirsimarja Blomqvist 1. INTRODUCTION Trust – or lack of it – has been seen as a ‘make-or-break’ factor in partnerships, technology cooperation and strategic alliances (Gambetta 1988; Larson 1992, Dodgson 1993; Young-Ybarra and Wiersema 1999 and Ariño et al. 2001). It has been identified as leading to cooperative behavior and constructive problem solving, which are necessary in longterm cooperation (Axelrod 1984; Young and Wilkinson 1989; Ring and van de Ven 1992; Morgan and Hunt 1984; Jones and George 1998). Trust reduces complex social realities economically and increases predictability, thus being an efficient mechanism to manage relational risks (Arrow 1974; Luhmann 1979; Ring and van de Ven 1992). Trust can be seen as ‘implicit contracting’ increasing the efficiency and effectiveness in relationships (Bradach and Eccles 1989). Even though the research on trust has become popular recently, there is still confusion about the concept itself, and many researchers’ approach to trust has been partial. Also Ring (2000), Koenig (1995) and Kelly et al. (2002) note that in the past the research of the informal processes leading to inter-organizational cooperation has been somewhat ignored. According to Ring (2000) research on the early dynamics of the partnership formation process is also scarce, and there are more studies on alliances that have come to being (the negotiations have not failed). Ring concludes that ‘we have to open up the “black box” of alliance creation processes and shed more light on task, team and time issues…’. Also Luo (2001) proposes that there is...

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