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Development of trust in the CEO-chair relationship

Satu Koskinen (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Anna-Maija Lämsä (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)

Baltic Journal of Management

ISSN: 1746-5265

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the trust development in the dyadic relationship of CEO and chair of the board.


A narrative approach is adopted to examine the meanings that CEOs and chairpersons give to trust in their relationship, and to explore trust as an evolving phenomenon that can increase or decline over the course of the relationship. The data include 16 CEO-chair dyads from Finnish limited companies.


The results suggest that trust may exist on different levels and evolve in various ways during the course of the relationship. Integrity and agreement on company strategy are proposed to form the foundation for trust in the CEO-chair relationship, whereas ability and benevolence are necessary for trust to develop to a higher level.

Research limitations/implications

Studying trust development based on the data generated at one point of time and in only one country are the major limitations of the study.

Practical implications

It is proposed that the level of trust influences value creation in the relationship.


The study adds to the limited number of previous studies on the CEO-chair relationship and contributes to the literature on trust development by making visible the viewpoint of both partners, and the meaning of the different components of trust.



This research has received funding from the following foundations: Erkki Paasikivi Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation (Central Fund), Foundation for Economic Education, Jyväskylän Kauppalaiseuran Säätiö, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and the Dr H.C. Marcus Wallenberg Foundation for Promoting Research in Business Administration.


Koskinen, S. and Lämsä, A.-M. (2017), "Development of trust in the CEO-chair relationship", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 274-291.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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