Trust and Learning in International Strategic Alliances
Nielsen, Bo Bernhard
Although trust has been given much attention in alliance literature as an explanatory factor, little research has been devoted to defining and operationalizing trust. Trust is more or less seen as a magic ingredient, poorly understood much like the concept of luck, and usually attributed ex post; successful alliances seem to involve trust; unsuccessful alliances do not. The extant literature has treated trust as a residual term for the complex social-psychological processes necessary for social action to occur. Since trust is a social phenomenon, both national culture and institutional arrangements have an impact on trust and the perception of trust. Hence, this paper develops a conceptual model, based on a structural equation approach, for empirically exploring the role played by trust in the process of learning in international strategic alliances. The model distinguishes between pre-alliance formation factors and post-alliance formation factors in an attempt to respond to calls for research examining the evolution of trust and its impact on international collaborative relationships. The determinants of trust in international strategic alliances are examined and a series of testable propositions are derived to guide future empirical investigation.
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