Nienaber, A-M and Schewe, G. (2011). What’s important for trustful communication with customers? Journal of General Management 37 (2) 1-21


Trust is very important and essential for relationships. Such statements can be observed in scientific as well as practically-oriented journals. But what is trust and how can it be developed or strengthened? To date, information on this is rather vague. Therefore, this study analyses the different characteristics of trust in a business relationship. In order to answer the research question, an empirical survey has been developed here. The Kano-analysis is used as the methodological approach. It can be shown that three different dimensions of trust can be identified: basic factors are a prerequisite of any relation and have a fundamental character in long-term relationships. The customers expect such factors to be an unquestionable part of any business relationship (e.g. honesty), while attractive factors always strengthen the stability of trust in the relationship (e.g. sympathy). One-dimensional factors not only stabilise trust if implemented, but can cause the relationship to deteriorate if ignored (e.g. timeliness).

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Prof. Dr. Ann-Marie Nienaber
Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behavior

Head of Research Group: Trust and Workplaces

Coventry University, United Kingdom
(Modern University of the Year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations