Establishing and developing business networks: the importance of trust

18 October 2013

The purpose of this research was to explore the importance of trust in establishing and developing business networks. The perceived levels of trust, commitment, cooperation, common interest and openness needed for successful business relationships were explored. A multi-method design, consisting of focus groups and a survey, provided a deeper understanding of such robust networking, such as trust and business networking. The mixed methods and then a survey for triangulation were used sequentially with focus groups to gather rich descriptive data and to measure content validity and trustworthiness. Participants (business owners or manager) were included and responses were received from opinion leaders in businesses, mainly from the services, retail and manufacturing sectors. Trust was identified as the singular most important cornerstone of a relationship and therefore of a network. The experiences of the participants showed that they feel that to build a relationship on trust, the partners in the relationship should be credible, have integrity, add value and communicate this value in a clear and non-obtrusive way. Trust was mentioned by both genders, all ages and for supplier, customer and partnering relationships, as the crucial element in determining business networking success. The mixed methods provide a more in-depth look at a multidimensional topic, such as trust. The individual experience of business owners and managers with regard to their measurement of trust in their relationships are unique and gives valuable insight for future investigations and understanding. Conducting their business at these festivals better. Training, facilitation and creating networking opportunities and engagement on higher levels of entrepreneur and management development might then be developed.