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Paper info: Exploring Trust vis--vis Reliance in Business Relationships: A Qualitative Analysis in the UK Construction Industry

Title


Exploring Trust vis--vis Reliance in Business Relationships: A Qualitative Analysis in the UK Construction Industry

Authors


Pete Naude
Manchester Business School
United Kingdom
Pete Naude , Stephan Henneberg and
Zhizhong Jiang
Manchester Business School
United Kingdom
Zhizhong Jiang

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.

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Abstract


Developing an understanding of trust as a concept, and the role that it plays in business-to-business relationships, has been a key focus of research in business marketing. However, while prior research commonly defines trust as a construct with the two dimensions of credibility and benevolence, reliance as representing rational standards has typically been excluded. Reliance can be considered to be positive expectations held by organization members that the focal organization's specific needs will be fulfilled by its exchange partner given the proven capability and exchange standards in place. Trust and reliance are therefore operating on two different levels of a business relationship. Given its affective nature, trust is manifested at the interpersonal level, whereas the cognitive nature of reliance implies that it is more pertinent at the interorganizational level. Despite its importance to understanding the interaction between buyer and supplier, reliance as a concept has not been empirically clarified. This paper proposes and initially validates the significance of reliance in business-to-business relationships, as developed in Mouzas et al. (2007). To understand reliance in buyer-supplier relationships, we conducted 20 interviews with buyers in the UK construction industry. The analysis of the interview data reveals that reliance can exists in business relationships despite the lack of interpersonal trust. Based on the qualitative data, we refine the definition of reliance vis--vis trust, and propose a multi-item measurement model by identifying factors of reliance with results in four items of a reflective model which we propose for future quantitative studies.