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The University of Southampton
Southampton Business School

Events blog: How to build trust in business relationships – and hang on to it

Published: 31 January 2018

Southampton Business School’s latest evening seminar considered high profile case studies including the fall of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the collapse of construction and services company Carillion and Volkswagen’s emissions scandal.

Trust is the essential glue that binds companies together and keeps customers coming back – but it’s easy to lose and difficult to regain.

Mark Hollyoake, who is researching trust for his Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) at the University of Southampton, analysed different kinds of trust in the workplace. Comparing trust to love in many ways, oft quoted yet seldom understood. He defined it as the willingness to be vulnerable in transactions while understanding each other’s abilities, credibility and working together towards mutual benefit over time.

“When two companies trust each other well, we say they’re in the Goldilocks Zone, a phrase used by NASA to describe habitable planets with climates similar to our own,” says Mark. “But too much trust can lead to overdependence such as the unhealthy relations between banks that caused the 2008 crash.”

Mark encouraged local business people, students and academics in the audience to consider how trust works in the workplace and discussed the nature of trust and how it can be fostered. He is a co-founder and director of Customer Attuned Ltd working in business to business (B2B) customer relations as well as studying for his DBA.

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