The ability of SMEs to use trust in managing offshore activities

Franz Jozef Gellert, Hugo Velthuijsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional


Small and medium-sized enterprises have found their way into multi-cultural relations to outsource or offshore their business processes. Relationships are built either from an economic or emotional point of view. Our study particularly focused on how SMEs owner/managers build, maintain, and –when necessary– exit their relationships with other SMEs by using trust as a core element. We have chosen for a qualitative research strategy by conducting semi-structured interviews in The Netherlands, Germany, UK, Denmark and Sweden. The countries selected are representatives of the application of Northern-European and Anglo-Saxon business models. Our results suggest that trust is of the essence in the relationship building process and that the perception of trust needs to be understood and managed in multi-cultural relations by all parties involved. We can also conclude from our results that SMEs are intrinsically inclined to base their offshore activities on trust. For practical reasons, partners in relationships need to be educated and trained how to build trust in multi-cultural relations. Future research should focus on the firms’ culture to examine the influence on trustful multi-culture relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation systems for small and medium-sized enterprises
Subtitle of host publicationstate of art of IS research in SMEs
Place of PublicationBerlin/Heidelberg
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-38244-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-38243-7
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

SeriesProgress in IS


  • smes
  • outsourcing
  • trust


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