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CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University

No 2013/16:
The spatiality of trust – Antecedents of trust and the role of face-to-face contacts

Magnus Nilsson () and Jannika Mattes ()

Abstract: In this paper we analyze how the spatiality of interactions influences trust creation in multi-site corporate innovation projects. By drawing on insights from the discussion on initial and gradual trust and connecting them to contributions from the field of economic geography, we examine different antecedents of trust and their dependence on face-to-face interaction. We thereby illustrate the complexity of initial and gradual trust creation and the interplay between personality traits, group-based similarities, situational and institutional factors, reputational inference, and personal interaction as trust antecedents. We can show that the speed and level of resilient trust creation is decisively influenced by the frequency and duration of face-to-face exchange between key project actors. The empirical insights are based on two qualitative case studies on specific innovation projects in multinational companies. Our findings stress the need to incorporate space as a facilitating factor in the analysis of trust development.

Keywords: Trust; spatiality; proximity; face-to-face; project work; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: M10; M19; (follow links to similar papers)

32 pages, April 17, 2013

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