The Conditional Impact of Competence Trust on Inter-Firm Learning in a Collectivist SME Context

Sengun A. E., Onder C.

INDUSTRY AND INNOVATION, vol.18, no.8, pp.791-812, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13662716.2011.621746
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.791-812
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: No


This study investigates the interactive influence of competence and goodwill trust on inter-firm learning. The study examines whether goodwill trust moderates the relationship between competence trust and inter-firm learning. Although earlier research points to an additive effect of competence and goodwill trust on inter-firm learning, this study hypothesizes an interactive effect of the two trust types. The study's basic premise is that, in collectivist contexts characterized with a weak legal system, goodwill trust determines the efficacy of competence trust. Empirical tests of this hypothesis involve data collected from 158 small-scale manufacturers of furniture located in Turkey. Initial empirical analysis shows that whereas goodwill trust has a positive main effect on inter-firm learning, competence trust does not. Introducing an interaction term reveals that competence trust positively influences inter-firm learning only when goodwill trust is high. Additionally, cluster analysis indicates that inter-firm learning is lowest when both competence trust and goodwill trust are low and highest when both forms of trust are high.