Trust and knowledge acquisition by small and medium-sized firms in weak client–firm exchange relationships
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This article investigates the role of trust in knowledge acquisition by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the conversion of the knowledge to knowledge-related outcomes. The specific context of the research is the weak client–firm exchange relationship where neither party expects further transactions. Research has overlooked these relationships as a potential source of resources, especially knowledge-based resources, because they are considered devoid of trust. An empirical analysis of survey data collected from 293 SME owners was undertaken using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The findings suggest that trust contributes to an SME owner’s acquisition of knowledge from the ‘one-off’, arm’s-length client, and that weak client–firm exchange relationships should not be overlooked as a potential source of knowledge to the SME.
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