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The development of trust over time in the Tunisian Automotive Sector

Mandjak, T and Balaid, S and Naude, P (2017) The development of trust over time in the Tunisian Automotive Sector. In: 22nd CBIM 2017 Academic Workshop, 19 June 2017 - 21 June 2017, Stockholm. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper examines how trust develops over time in business relationships between a number of Tunisian SMEs operating in the automotive sector. Trust has long been considered as a core element of relationship quality, which in turn has a moderating role in affecting the negotiation process between the actors. Our paper is based on a qualitative study of ten relationships in the Tunisian automotive industry. We take a monadic view, having interviewed local spare-parts resellers about their relationships with their wholesalers. Given the relatively simplistic structure of the automotive spare-parts industry, the mutual integration of needs between wholesalers and the resellers is relatively easily understood. The decision to undertake the research in Tunisia is twofold. On the one hand, there is a paucity of research based in the Maghreb countries, and hence a need to understand how business operates in this region. On the other hand, the Tunisian market structure is relatively simple, with most spare-parts being imported because of the low level of local production. Our results show that there is a mutual but not symmetric or balanced influence of trust on the behavior of the partners involved. The influence of the different parties is dependent on the power architecture, the history of the relationship and the network position of the actors. We find that different kinds of trust play different roles over the dynamics of the relationship. Perceived trust is more important at the emergent stage of a relationship, and experienced trust becomes more important in the established relationships. The perceive trust creates the possibility of building trust, and when mutual trust exists between the parties, it motivates them to maintain the relationship.

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