Keywords: trust development, trust building, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial networks, resource constraints, poverty, rural areas, developing countries, trust brokers, non–governmental organisations, NGOs, trust domains, trust dimensions, Bangladesh, entrepreneurial behaviour, distrust
Trust building and entrepreneurial behaviour in a distrusting environment: a longitudinal study from Bangladesh
It has been widely argued that trust plays a key role in building entrepreneurial networks and entrepreneurial success. Despite this interest, there are still very few longitudinal empirical studies on trust building. This study shows how nascent entrepreneurs develop trust and entrepreneurial networks in poor rural Bangladeshi environments, and how they use both for entrepreneurial transactions. Data were obtained through longitudinal monitoring, questionnaires and interviews over a two year period. Using the framework of Lewicki et al. (1998) that considers trust and distrust to be separate, co–existing dimensions, this study shows how sustainable entrepreneurial relations, requiring interpersonal trust, can evolve in an initially distrusting environment - and explains why this process follows a particular sequence of events. We found that an external trust broker played a crucial role in trust building. Four domains of trust that play a role in entrepreneurial relations were identified, with thresholds in each domain that need to be reached for progress to the next.