IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The spatiality of trust – Antecedents of trust and the role of face-to-face contacts


  • Nilsson, Magnus

    () (CIRCLE, Lund University)

  • Mattes, Jannika

    () (Institute for Social Sciences, CETRO, University of Oldenburg, Germany and CIRCLE, Lund University, Sweden)


In this paper we analyze how the spatiality of interactions influences trust creation in multi-site corporate innovation projects. By drawing on insights from the discussion on initial and gradual trust and connecting them to contributions from the field of economic geography, we examine different antecedents of trust and their dependence on face-to-face interaction. We thereby illustrate the complexity of initial and gradual trust creation and the interplay between personality traits, group-based similarities, situational and institutional factors, reputational inference, and personal interaction as trust antecedents. We can show that the speed and level of resilient trust creation is decisively influenced by the frequency and duration of face-to-face exchange between key project actors. The empirical insights are based on two qualitative case studies on specific innovation projects in multinational companies. Our findings stress the need to incorporate space as a facilitating factor in the analysis of trust development.

Suggested Citation

  • Nilsson, Magnus & Mattes, Jannika, 2013. "The spatiality of trust – Antecedents of trust and the role of face-to-face contacts," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/16, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2013_016

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Walter Powell & Kenneth Koput & James Bowie & Laurel Smith-Doerr, 2002. "The Spatial Clustering of Science and Capital: Accounting for Biotech Firm-Venture Capital Relationships," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 291-305.
    2. Asheim, Bjorn T & Isaksen, Arne, 2002. "Regional Innovation Systems: The Integration of Local 'Sticky' and Global 'Ubiquitous' Knowledge," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 77-86, January.
    3. Mendez, Ariel, 2003. "The coordination of globalized R&D activities through project teams organization: an exploratory empirical study," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 96-109, May.
    4. Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2004. "Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 351-370, August.
    5. Li, Li, 2005. "The effects of trust and shared vision on inward knowledge transfer in subsidiaries' intra- and inter-organizational relationships," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 77-95, February.
    6. Anders Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2006. "Localized Learning Revisited," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 1-18.
    7. Meric S. Gertler, 2003. "Tacit knowledge and the economic geography of context, or The undefinable tacitness of being (there)," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 75-99, January.
    8. Manuel Becerra, 2002. "Perceived Trustworthiness Within The Organization: The Moderating Impact Of Communication Frequency," Working Papers Economia wp02-05, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    9. Schön, Lennart & Kander, Astrid, 2007. "Industrial dynamics and innovative pressure on energy - Sweden with European and Global outlooks," Papers in Innovation Studies 2007/5, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    10. Wilson, Jeanne M. & Straus, Susan G. & McEvily, Bill, 2006. "All in due time: The development of trust in computer-mediated and face-to-face teams," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 16-33, January.
    11. Mark H. Hansen & Robert E. Hoskisson & Jay B. Barney, 2008. "Competitive advantage in alliance governance: resolving the opportunism minimization-gain maximization paradox," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2-3), pages 191-208.
    12. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
    13. Ash Amin & Patrick Cohendet, 2005. "Geographies of Knowledge Formation in Firms," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 465-486.
    14. Bennett Harrison, 2007. "Industrial Districts: Old Wine in New Bottles? (Volume 26, Number 5, 1992)," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(sup1), pages 107-121.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Trust; spatiality; proximity; face-to-face; project work;

    JEL classification:

    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General
    • M19 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Other

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2013_016. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Torben Schubert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.