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Reliability and Character-Based Trust in Business

Updated on July 4, 2017

Character and reliability-based trust are two perspectives of trust in a business relationship. The two aspects of trust differ in the sense that while character-based trust is premised on the principle of philosophy and culture, reliability based trust is based on operating performance and perception of actual behavior. Character based trust assumes that partners in a business context take concern in each other’s welfare without necessarily showing it through action. The partners trust each other that the other will develop the interest of another (Payne and Murray, 2006). In reliability based trust, the trust between partners develops based on how reliable the other firm is through action and beheavior. If a firm fails to deliver as promised, it is considered untrustworthy (Zhang, 2011). In other words, reliability based trust is developed and maintained when the partners keep their promise of delivery to each. However, character based trust is based on assumption that the other partner will just keep the promise as agreed upon for the benefit of each other.

Character-based trust is critical in collaborative relationships, since it determines the growth and sustenance of such a relationship. It accelerates and improves exchanges by enabling actors to access information concerning the predictability of the other firm’s behavior and in identifying partners who can be relied upon during search and selection of partners (Child, 2001). Stated differently, character based trust is important in making a business trustworthy and marketable among other firms. Firms that are searching or selecting partners to work with will certainly rest on those with this virtue rather than those who had failed to show it in the past. Moreover, a firm that harbors character based trust has an advantage of maintaining relationship for long due to its reliability.


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