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
Date Written: April 27, 2009
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
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