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The role of trust in investor relations: a conceptual framework

Nadine Strauß (Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 5 February 2018




The purpose of this paper is to develop a synthesis for investor relations (IR) research on how to understand, conceptualize and build trust relationships between companies and the financial community within the practice of IR. In doing so, a working definition of the role of trust for IR, a conceptual model as well as strategies on how to establish, maintain and foster trust relationships within IR are proposed. Furthermore, a brief research alley is sketched to inspire more corporate communication scholars to conduct empirical studies in this field of research.


The paper is based on a thorough literature review on empirical and theoretical work in the field of IR, strategic financial communication as well as related disciplines such as public relations, marketing and business research. Furthermore, the literature from other disciplines dealing with trust in the organizational context (economics, psychology, sociology) has been reviewed to develop a working definition for the role of trust in IR.


The following supposition for the role of trust in IR has been worked out: “Trust relationships within investor relations manifest themselves on a micro-, meso-, and macro-level and involve interactions with various individual actors, groups of people, organizations, institutions, and systems. Within these trust interactions, investor relations presents itself simultaneously three-fold: as a discipline, an organization and as individual practitioners.”

Practical implications

To support the establishment, maintenance and fostering of trust relationships, IR needs to provide honest, transparent, comprehensive and coherent information to be in continuous, direct and mutual contact with stakeholders (e.g. investors, analysts, CEOs) and to endeavor a fair representation of the company in the media and among the public.


Facing recent changes in the media, regulatory and corporate environment, this conceptual paper provides a thorough discussion of the role of trust in the field of IR. The working definition, the conceptual model as well as the practical strategies to build trust relationships provided in this paper might help IR to overcome these challenges. The call for more research in this area and the actual employment of the suggested trust building strategies might contribute to fostering trust relationships in the financial markets, thereby contributing to a more sustainable financial system in the long run.



Strauß, N. (2018), "The role of trust in investor relations: a conceptual framework", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 2-16.



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