Impact of skill on bi-dimensional trust within small-to-medium sized enterprises upstream relationships

Khurram Sharif*, Norizan Kassim, Mohd Nishat Faisal, Mohamed Zain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper examined the deterministic and moderating impacts of skill on the behavioural (benevolence) and cognitive (credibility) dimensions of trust within small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) upstream (i.e. supplier-to-customer) relationships. A theoretically grounded research model was developed that comprised of three cognitive and three behavioural antecedents of benevolence and credibility. Impact of time (i.e. chronological influences) on skill-driven bi-dimensional trust development was assessed as well. Design/methodology/approach: All measures were borrowed from top ranking journals and adapted for use. An online questionnaire-based survey was conducted with UK SMEs executives who were involved in electrical and electronic components industry. A total of 231 useable questionnaires were received which represented a response rate of 15.4%. After validity and reliability checks, the collected data were subjected to partial least square analysis to verify the deterministic and/or moderating impact of skill on bi-dimensional trust. Findings: The results supported a dual role (a moderator and a determinant) of skill on SMEs upstream relationship trust. However, the moderating effect of skill dominated the deterministic effect. Furthermore, the results indicated that skill tends to behave differently toward cognitive and behavioural dimensions of trust. Hence, how skill development is influenced by different dimensions of trust, and the role time plays in skill-driven trust enhancement should be carefully considered in SME upstream relationships. Therefore, it is suggested that the nature and context of each supplier–customer relational episode should be examined in terms of the outcomes it is designed to achieve in a relationship. Originality/value: This study evaluated an in-depth association between skill and bi-dimensional trust development within SME upstream relationships. Specifically, deterministic and moderating impacts of skill on credibility and benevolence were investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-68
Number of pages30
JournalEuroMed Journal of Business
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 8 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bi-dimensional trust
  • Hi tech industry
  • Moderated multiple regression
  • Skill
  • SMEs
  • Time
  • Upstream relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Finance


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