Edited by Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal
Chapter 18: Trust, Distrust and Confidence in B2B Relationships
Lisa K. Scheer* Trust is central in B2B relationships. It increases the ‘ability to adapt to unforeseen problems in ways that are difficult to achieve through arm’s-length ties’ (Uzzi 1996, p. 678) and is the foundation for greater commitment and performance (Palmatier et al. 2007a). Meta-analysis reveals that the ‘effect of trust on satisfaction and long-term orientation is even substantially larger than the direct effect of economic outcomes’ (Geyskens et al. 1998, p. 242). However, ‘while the effects of trust on attitudes and perceptions have been . . . fairly consistent and positive, its effects on behavior and performance’ have been weaker (Langfred 2004, p. 385). Although trust has been theorized to improve performance, its actual effect is questionable (Atuahene-Gima and Li 2002; Gundlach and Cannon 2010). Why does trust not consistently generate more favorable performance? Is this due to confusion about what trust is? Critical gaps in our knowledge about trust in B2B relationships remain, including the following: ● ● ● What negative effects could result from greater trust, and how can they be mitigated? What is distrust? Can it affect B2B relationships differently than the absence of trust? How does trust differ from confidence? What are the sources of confidence? Contemplation of these issues highlights avenues for theory building and empirical investigation as well as managerial insights. Despite extensive prior research, trust is definitely ‘worthy of more thorough analysis and a deeper understanding’ (Gundlach and Cannon 2010, p. 411). WHAT IS TRUST? ‘Trust is the belief that one’s partner can be relied on to...
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