|Building trust in cross-cultural relationships: Active trust through culture mobilisation in Finnish-Indian project teams
This thesis examines trust building in Finnish-Indian distributed teams engaged in knowledge-intensive project work. To understand how actors build trust in the context of cultural distance and virtual collaboration, dynamic approaches to trust building and culture were adopted. The data were collected through interviews and observations in both geographical locations.
In distributed project teams, static and slowly evolving trust creation models are not sufficient in explaining the ways trust is built to meet the needs of temporal project teams working distantly in a cross-cultural environment. Thus, this study suggests active trust as a solution in this challenging context of trust creation and places the main emphasis on the role of an active trustor. In doing so, this research challenges the static and passive trust models where trust development is focused on the trustee and their trustworthiness. Moreover, the study challenges the static culture approaches and adopts a dynamic mosaic perspective to culture as a collection of various cultural identities and elements that are used as resources. This allows for the examination of the agentic view of culture mobilisation.
The findings illustrate how trusting parties are capable of mobilising various cultural elements and engage in purposeful trust-building practices to lessen the vulnerability caused by the unfamiliarity due to cultural differences and virtual communication. The agency in constructing actions to build trust is a central feature of collaborators who are successful in active trust building. Furthermore, researching the mobilisation of cultural elements in trust building revealed that the collaborators were not only drawing on existing cultural similarities but also engaged in a process of adjusting and adopting new cultural elements. The co-created third culture acted as the strongest nominator for active trust development in Finnish-Indian project teams.
This thesis contributes to business practitioners working in the context of global teams where practices of active trust are needed to allow collaboration on complex and novel tasks that require efficient knowledge transfer. The findings guide team members to actively invest in the co-creation of shared culture elements and proactively shape the conditions for trusting.
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Open (open metadata and files)
|University of Westminster
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)