Why don't all high-trust Networks achieve strong network benefits? A case-based Exploration of Cooperation in Norwegian SME networks
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Trust Research. 2016, 6 (2), 194-212. 10.1080/21515581.2016.1213173
This paper explores the interactions between three focal constructs: network trust, network cooperation and network benefits. While positive interactions between these constructs are generally recognised, a deeper understanding is needed why high trust does not always coincide with high levels of cooperation and benefits in networks. Based on qualitative and survey data gathered from three Norwegian small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) networks, this paper contributes to the process theory of inter-organisational relationships by showing how network trust, cooperation and benefits interact in various ways in ongoing networks, leading to a more nuanced understanding of the relative and changing impact of each of the three focal constructs on the other constructs. In particular, trust facilitates cooperative initiatives that promise real network benefits which subsequently reinforce trust, especially when network members are smaller firms and the network has many members.