Trust and distrust in Nigerian supply chain relationships

Kingsley Obi Omeihe, Veronika Gustafsson, Isaac O. Amoako, Mohammad Saud Khan

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Purpose- To date, most of the literature on trust and distrust reveal a paucity of studies about Nigerian Supply chain relationships. Specifically, this paper attempts to address this gap by examining how trust is developed and repaired in supply chain relationships.

Design/methodology/approach- Within the scope of this paper, an interpretivist approach was adopted in response to calls for qualitative studies on supply chain relationships. Face to face semi-structured interviews with 12 supplier/customers active in Nigerian trade provided insights into the importance of trust and distrust in enduring supply chain relationships. Data was analysed using iterations from interviews held with the respondents. These iterations demonstrate the key role trust plays in developing and maintaining supply chain relationships whereas distrust deters cooperative relationships.

Findings- Key factors were considered in developing an understanding of how trust and distrust mechanisms affect the coordination of supply chain performance. Three distinct types of trust-calculus based trust (CBT), identification based trust (IBT) and knowledge based trust (KBT) are considered to play an important role in maintaining and developing fruitful relationships. Conversely, the repair of two levels of distrust-calculus based distrust and identification based distrust is crucial to enduring supply chain relationships.

Research limitations/implications- The importance of taking trust and distrust seriously stems from its unique contextual embeddedness. This study fills a gap in the literature by providing insights into how potential customers and suppliers can leverage on trust to improve their supply chain capacities while suggesting remedial actions when trust is violated.

Originality- The paper enriches the view that trust and distrust are crucial in explaining Nigerian supply chain relationships. In a broader context, the complementary relationships between both mechanisms highlight the social advantage of trusting behaviour in overall performance of supply chains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 33rd British Academy of Management Conference, Birmingham, England
PublisherBritish Academy of Management
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780995641327
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event2019 British Academy of Management Conference: Building and Sustaining High Performance Organisations During Uncertain Times - Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sept 20195 Sept 2019


Conference2019 British Academy of Management Conference
Abbreviated titleBAM 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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