Being There: Firsthand Experience and Perceived Reflected Knowledge in Engendering Trust in Global Collaboration

65 Pages Posted: 1 May 2009 Last revised: 8 Jan 2018

See all articles by Mark Mortensen

Mark Mortensen

INSEAD - Organisational Behaviour

Tsedal Neeley

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: April 27, 2009

Abstract

While scholars contend that firsthand experience - time spent onsite observing the people, places, and norms of a distant locale - is crucial in globally distributed collaboration, how such experience actually affects interpersonal dynamics is poorly understood. Based on 47 semistructured interviews and 140 survey responses in a global chemical company, this paper explores the effects of firsthand experience on intersite trust. We find firsthand experience leads not just to direct knowledge of the other, but also knowledge of the self as seen through the eyes of the other - what we call “reflected knowledge”. Reflected and direct knowledge, in turn, affect trust through identification, adaptation, and reduced misunderstandings.

Keywords: trust, global collaboration, reflected knowledge

Suggested Citation

Mortensen, Mark and Neeley, Tsedal, Being There: Firsthand Experience and Perceived Reflected Knowledge in Engendering Trust in Global Collaboration (April 27, 2009). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4735-09; Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Working Paper No. 09-131. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1395732 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1395732

Mark Mortensen (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Organisational Behaviour ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Tsedal Neeley

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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