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Identity and trust relations in international collaborations

Zhang, Ying and Huxham, Christine (2007) Identity and trust relations in international collaborations. In: 2007 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2007-08-03 - 2007-08-08.

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This paper is concerned with the exploration of identity and trust relations in international collaborative settings. We draw on data from two case studies of Sino-foreign collaborations. Our analysis shows that collective identity is constantly constructed and reconstructed in the trust building process according to different times and contexts by partners who associate their common identity characters with each other. The trusting attitudes can be reinforced when partners¡¦ deference action toward their collective identity construction is mutually recognized. From the perspectives of foreign expatriates in international collaborations, their identity fit in the assigned social and cultural context expedites their trust building with local partners. Moreover, identity fit and trust building at individual level facilitates identity fit and trust building at organizational level, which could reduce the possibility of distrust. Base on our findings, we develop a dynamic model of identity and trust relations which are mediated by language and symbol. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for research and practice.