A trust and reciprocity based perspective on governance mechanism in cooperatives

Martina Pieperhoff, Katie Hyslop, Dietmar Roessl


This paper aims to highlight the coordination of relationships between the members of cooperatives from a trust and reciprocity based view. First, the research object is defined and delineated from other similar concepts and terms. We then discuss reciprocity, starting with the foundations of this concept and revealing its development over time. Trust is presented as an ideal-typical mechanism for coordinating cooperative relations. The discussion of the effectiveness of trust concerning the establishment and maintenance of highly complex transaction relationships based on long-term objectives leads to delineating the relationship-related, maxim-based trust and context-related norm-based trust. The two separate streams of discussion on reciprocity and on trust in the context of cooperatives are then related to each other. Finally, implications are discussed and the key findings on the interplay between reciprocity and trust are summarised. Impulses for future research are alsoprovided.

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