Chapter 3: Multidisciplinary Studies on Trust
INTRODUCTION Trust has been examined, at various analytical levels, by diverse disciplines. In fact, the degree of construct abstraction has enabled its contextualization in several relational contexts. Trust that develops among individuals in relationships with kin and friends has been analysed by psychology and sociology. When the interacting parties belong to the same organizational structure or to the same workteam, their interaction becomes the focus of organization studies. Their aim is to understand how social mechanisms facilitate collaboration among individuals committed to the same task, achieving greater eﬀectiveness with less control. By the same token, two individuals interacting while playing interfacing roles in diﬀerent structures, as buyer and seller, establish an exchange relationship which represents the focus of relational marketing scholars and, in particular, of those specialized in sales management. The latter are particularly interested in understanding whether trust plays a positive role in a negotiation’s successful conclusion and, if that role is conﬁrmed, the modes that can increase the seller’s perceived reliability. The generalization level characterizing the construct makes it applicable not only to interpersonal relationships but also to interactions between diﬀerent organizational structures. Even at that level, the concept may be applied to diﬀerent relational contexts: alliances and joint ventures among ﬁrms with complementary competences and resources; partnerships among ﬁrms at various levels of the supply chain; inter-organizational relations in industrial districts; supply and channel relations and – in more general terms – all inter-organizational relations involving interactions between a buyer and a seller ﬁrm....
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