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Paper info: Trust Again: Protestant Dominant Logic vs. Catholic Dominant Logic


Trust Again: Protestant Dominant Logic vs. Catholic Dominant Logic


Philippe PORTIER

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


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"You know, we often say here: "Finns have blue eyes". This was the answer of a young doctorate working on trust in asymmetrical relationships between innovative firms, during an IMP Conference in a Scandinavian country, face to this diabolical remark: "do you imagine that, in some culture, lying is the essence of human art"? Face such cultural differences, numerous researchers have demonstrated the relationship between trust and economic development depending on high / low trust values: Historians, (Peyrefitte, 1995), Sociologists (Fukuyama,1995; d'Iribarne, 1986, 2006), Economists (Algan and Cahuc, 2007), and Management Science researchers (Usunier, 2000).Starting with an undifferentiated approach, Marketing began to interest in trust in the 1980's (Dwyer, Schurr and Oh, 1987; Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Doney and Cannon, 1997). Trust became a pillar of relational marketing (Berry, 1995) and Inter Organisational relationship(Spekman, 1988). Despite this, after flourishing publications, trust is seen as a ubiquitous concept (Usunier, 2000), ambiguous (Bidault, 1998), vague (elusive) (Zuker, 1986), and as obstructing the development of reliable measuring tools (Raimondo, 2000). Are such limitations due to a universalist assumption, too culturally oriented: trust is good as itself?Using works on the influence of religious beliefs on trust, we shall consider the hypothesis that the European conceptions of trust are centred on two typical-ideals (Weber, 1922): a Protestant Dominant Logic (PDL) vs. a Catholic Dominant Logic (CDL). A comprehensive methodology opposes these two visions. One is based upon individual responsibility vs. the other states the dependence of the individual upon the whole. One conceives freedom inspired by subjugation (servo arbitrio) vs. the other acts with absolute freedom (libero abitrio). Finally, one founds trust upon control… starting from an assumption of human opportunism; the other perceives control as contrary of trust... despite a faith in benevolent human nature. In conclusion, we raise the question of whether or not the paradoxal point of view of the IMP Group vis--vis trust is influenced by the Protestant Dominant Logic of many of its members. On one hand, trust does not constitute a key point in its founding principles (Hakansson, 1982; Turnbull & Valla, 1986; Ford, 1990; Axelsson & Easton, 1992; Hakansson & Snehota, 1995). On the other hand, rare are the contributions submitted to his Annual Conference which do not refer to trust, considered as a buzzword taken for granted. This marked PDL paradox would explain the difficult acculturation of this school of thought to others cultural environments.