Paper info: An analysis of the significance of trust and trust-developing driversfor more effectively managing industrial distribution channels inGermany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK
An analysis of the significance of trust and trust-developing driversfor more effectively managing industrial distribution channels inGermany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK
Stuart Hanmer-Lloyd and Ulrike A. Sturman
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.
Industrial manufacturer-distributor relationships take place in an international economic environmentwhere interactions between different national cultures have become a constant part of the businessmarket. The failure of cross-cultural business relationships is often associated with a lack ofappreciation of the cultural frameworks within which business relationships operate.Trust has been recognised as a core criterion for successful business relationships. However, verylittle research is reported regarding the perceived significance of trust and trust-developing factors ininternational cross-cultural manufacturer-distributor relationships. The paper examines this subject.Following on from a review of the trust and culture literature, the authors of this paper have developedtwo conceptual frameworks which, firstly, link trust-building behaviours with trust-building processesand, secondly, propose links between trust-building processes and national cultures. Qualitative andquantitative data gathered from ten distribution companies located in Germany, Italy, the Netherlandsand the UK are analysed and tested against these two frameworks.The findings suggest that whilst a relatively high degree of consistency is observed across thecountries as to the significance of trust in industrial manufacturer-distributor relationships, differencesare evident as to the factors that contribute to the development of trust. These results thereforeprovide a greater degree of understanding of the important links that exist between national culturesand the development of trust.The paper culminates in highlighting managerial implications arising from this investigation andprovides practical recommendations on means to enable improved cohesion within internationalmanufacturer-distributor relationships. These proposals emphasise the importance of demonstratingcultural sensitivity in order to build successful and long-term manufacturer-distributor relationships.