Trust in Inter-organizational Relations

Reinhard Bachmann, Aks Zaheer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This article takes issue with the notion that calculativeness and not trust dominates inter-organizational relationships (IORs), and lays out a series of arguments in support of trust. While it principally addresses the role of trust in inter-organizational business relationships, much of what is covered here applies as well to relationships between organizations more generally, including those in the public and non-profit sectors. This article shows that trust is different from calculativeness in nature and that the concept of social embeddedness provides a more realistic perspective for analysing relationships between organizations. It is believed that a detailed examination of the role of trust in IORs from both the economic and sociological perspectives paves the way to a deeper understanding of the issues in this context. In turn, such understandings should help identify appropriate research questions to investigate better empirically the precise role of trust in IORs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Inter-Organizational Relations
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191577277
ISBN (Print)9780199282944
StatePublished - Sep 2 2009


  • Calculativeness
  • Inter-organizational relationships
  • Non-profit sectors
  • Social embeddedness
  • Trust


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