A Business to Business Model of Trust

In this whitepaper, Dr Mark Hollyoake together with Dr Melanie Ashleigh and Professor Malcolm Higgs, review and examine inter-organisation, inter-team and interpersonal multi level analysis of trust.


Trust has been the subject of extensive research over the last fifty years, yet the concept has routinely misconstrued and misapplied across different contexts. This lack of clarity has impeded a clear understanding of how trust is developed and applied in B2B, which in turn has proved an obstacle to developing a dynamic model of trust.

This paper explores the extant research, proposes a new and more holistic definition, adopting a multi-level analysis approach between dyads. The research design is focussed on an inter-organisation, inter-team and interpersonal multi-level analysis approach between dyads developed through qualitative grounded theory methodology, using critical incident analysis.

Through investigating the importance of commitment in developing trust in B2B organisational relationships, it concludes that B2B relationships are strategically driven from an organisational level through the relational intent and the establishment of mutual relational benefits. Furthermore, that cognitive and affective dissonance occur when relational intentions fail to meet expectations, engagement and experience that both sides had intentionally set out.

It draws on the analysis to develop a business-to-business trust DNA model which builds on current research by creating a framework for intention-ability-credibility-interdependence-mutual value outcomes– time that works across all organisational levels and between dyads.


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    Dr Mark Hollyoake