The influence of culture on trust in B2B banking relationships
Purpose The purpose is to explore the significance of culture generally, and Arab culture in particular, for the development of trust in business-to-business banking relationships. Design/methodology Qualitative fieldwork was employed, gathering in-depth interview data from bankers and their business clients in the United Arab Emirates. In total, 80 relationships between bankers and business clients were investigated. Findings The development of trusting relationships between bankers and clients is affected by the cultural origins of the relationship partners. Strongly held religious beliefs, and loyalty to family, tribe and nation, lead to strong affect-based trust between bankers and clients from Arab culture. Cognitive-based trust is more characteristic of UAE banker/client relationships that involve partners from outside the Arab world. Research limitations/implications The study was conducted in the UAE. Additional tests in other Arab countries would be valuable. The qualitative nature of the study means that statistical generalisations cannot be drawn. Practical implications The cultural origins of banking relationship managers are of considerable importance when seeking to develop relationships of trust with business banking clients in the Arab world. Originality/value This substantial, qualitative study of banker relationships with business clients throws considerable light on the importance of culture as an antecedent to trust in business-to-business banking relationships.