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The Nature of Trust in Virtual Entrepreneurial Networks

Alistair Anderson, Elina Steinerte and Ellina O. Russell
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Elina Steinerte: University of Bristol, UK
Ellina O. Russell: Robert Gordon University, UK

International Journal of E-Entrepreneurship and Innovation (IJEEI), 2010, vol. 1, issue 1, 1-21

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to explore the nature of trust in virtual entrepreneurial networks by asking the research question, “What types of trust can be found in these networks?”. The authors argue that globalisation, the pervasion of ICT, and the growth of entrepreneurial e-trade encourage the use of virtual networking by entrepreneurs. Networks are seen as a social device to extend and embed entrepreneurs, but depend on trust for governance and operation. Through a critical thematic analysis of literature on trust and virtual networks, the authors propose a conceptual theoretical model of multidimensional trust, with emphasis on its relational characteristics. The authors find that trust largely depends on close contact among entrepreneurs for its development. Only swift trust, which is a limited form, is likely to exist in purely virtual networks. Practical implications of this theoretical article can be based on the authors’ argument that entrepreneurs must augment virtual networks with more personal contacts to realise the full benefits of networking.

Date: 2010
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