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Managers' assessment of thin and thick trust: The importance of benevolence in interbank relations

Journal article
Authors Roy Liff
Gunnar Wahlström
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Management
Volume 33
Issue 3
Pages 151-161
ISSN 0956-5221
Publication year 2017
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 151-161
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.20...
Keywords interbank; senior bank managers; trust; formal control; benevolence
Subject categories Business Administration


This qualitative interview study investigates managers’ ongoing relationships in inter-organisational banks, examining how they assess trust in their counterparts and how they decide if the relationship should continue. In normal times, formal information can assess thin trust – the ability and integrity of their counterparts. In times of impending crisis, senior bank managers rely on the evaluation of thick personal trust: benevolence. To be a trustworthy party in a financial crisis, benevolence must be established between counterpart banks before the crisis. Benevolence is a redundant component of trust in normal times, but extremely important during a crisis. Lack of benevolence established in normal times may, in fact, be at least partially responsible for the fragility of interfirm agreements and alliances.

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