The Dynamics of Inter-Organisational Trust Violation and Repair
: An Exploratory Analysis in the Taiwanese Electronics Industry

  • Hung-Jui Wu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


For this research, the dynamics of how inter-organisational trust is violated and repaired is investigated, thus contributing to the burgeoning field of inter-organisational trust violation and repair literature. Four identified theoretical and empirical gaps identified from the extant literature are addressed: i) single point in time, ii) single dimension of trust, iii) single outcome of trust repair, and iv) single party focus, by drawing on longitudinal, dyadic, comparative multiple case study data.
From a process perspective, this study involves collecting, analysing, and presenting the data with respect to the level of competence and goodwill trust across the pre-transgression, trust violation, trust repair, and post-repair stages. Over a two-year data collection period, 59 semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with respondents across organisational hierarchies (e.g. GMs, VPs, PMs, QA teams, RD teams, and procurement managers) and from both buyers and suppliers in the Taiwanese electronics industry were conducted. Based on the four case studies that consist of rich narratives and through representative graphical illustrations, the temporal dynamics of competence and goodwill trust over time are explored.
The findings reveal that the process of trust violation and repair entails multiple mini-episodic interactions between the buyer and the supplier that constantly shape the level of trust dynamically. In the trust violation stage, trust violation consists of multiple transgressions. If these transgressions are met with ineffective reparative attempts (i.e. recalibration practices), then this generally, first, violates competence trust and then, gradually spills over into goodwill trust violation. In the trust repair stage, goodwill trust is repaired earlier than competence trust, which appears to be opposite to the order of their being built. Through his study, critical factors that facilitate and hinder trust violation and repair stages, respectively, are identified, thereby deepening the understanding of how differential outcomes of trust repair are achieved.
The findings not only address the gaps identified in the theory, for they also have significant managerial implications. Accordingly, a set of recommended strategies is put forward for managers to facilitate mitigation of the severity of trust violation and to repair the violated trust effectively. This could reduce significant operational and financial losses associated with trust violation and repair for the buyer-supplier dyad.
Date of Award19 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJens Roehrich (Supervisor) & Brian Squire (Supervisor)


  • Inter-organisational trust
  • Trust violation
  • Trust repair
  • Buyer-supplier relationship

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