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Identity construction and trust building in developing international collaborations

Zhang, Y. and Huxham, C. (2009) Identity construction and trust building in developing international collaborations. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 45 (2). pp. 186-211. ISSN 0021-8863

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The authors argue that international collaborations are both vehicles for wider strategic change and development and contexts within which individuals pursue a process of development and change to move their separate organizations toward a functioning relationship. The authors explore two related aspects-trust building and identity construction-of that internal process of change and development, which, if successful, in turn allow the wider, strategic developments to progress. Drawing on an analysis of a case study of Sino-Australian business collaboration, the authors introduce three concepts relating to identity construction-identity characters, deference action, and identity fit-and show how they relate to a process in which identity-individual and collective-is constantly constructed and reconstructed in formal and informal settings during the trust building process. They argue that trusting attitudes can be reinforced through recognition of deference action and adaptation of identity to fit with collaboration circumstances.