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The importance of trust vis‐à‐vis reliance in business relationships: some international findings

Zhizhong Jiang (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Stephan C. Henneberg (mIMP Research Group, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Peter Naudé (mIMP Research Group, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the levels of trust and reliance in different international business markets. The paper aims to obtain empirical evidence regarding the importance of relational aspects (trust) vis‐à‐vis organisational ones (reliance) for building long‐term business relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an exploratory study to examine trust and reliance in the manufacturing and construction industries of four countries: UK, India, Pakistan, and Poland. Statistical analysis is based on a data sample of 501 responses collected through a survey of buying and selling relationships.

Findings

Although varying across countries, stable relationships with high levels of both trust and reliance exist widely in business markets. Exclusively trust‐based business relationships, i.e. those which are mainly driven by individual‐level aspects, are very rare. However, both trust and reliance are significant for building relationships with long‐term perspectives.

Practical implications

Managers in firms who want to build advantageous and sustainable business relationships need to be able to discern the difference between trust in people on the one hand, and reliance on the partner firms on the other. This research shows that to maintain sustainable relationships, firms should not only focus their relational capabilities on enhancing reliance aspects with their business partners, but also aim to build good levels of trust in the interaction.

Keywords

Citation

Jiang, Z., Henneberg, S.C. and Naudé, P. (2011), "The importance of trust vis‐à‐vis reliance in business relationships: some international findings", International Marketing Review, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 318-339. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651331111149921

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited