INTERPERSONAL TRUST AND COOPERATIVE BEHAVIOR IN A STRATEGIC ALLIANCE Open Access
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This study explored the relationship between interpersonal trust and cooperation between dyads in a strategic alliance consisting of three professional consulting firms. By focusing on the dyad as the unit of analysis, this study employed a non-experimental, one-shot design to explore correlations among the relationships between interpersonal trust, affect- and cognition-based trust, cooperation, time (length of time working together and frequency of interaction). A web-based survey was administered that incorporated McAllister's (1995) Behavioral Response and Interpersonal Trust Measures (BRITM). The researcher modified the BRITM by adding additional items to the instrument to measure the effect of time on the interpersonal and cooperation relationship between the dyads. The alliance in this study was formed four years ago and the length of the dyadic relationships varied, as well as the frequency of their number of interactions. A census sample represented the sample population, and responses from eighty-nine subjects were used for the data analysis. Pearson coefficient correlation analysis was used to analyze the relationships between interpersonal trust and cooperation, cognition-based trust and cooperation, and affect-based trust and cooperation. A stepwise linear regression analysis was used to determine if the dyad's length of time working together and monthly interactions affected their interpersonal trust and cooperation relationship. An additional analysis using on the using an independent sample t-test and an ANOVA with Tukey and Games-Howell post hoc tests was used to measure the time variables. The most significant finding for this study revealed no difference between the interpersonal trust and cooperation relationship for dyads that worked together for 2 to 4 years when compared to dyads that worked together less than 2 years. However, there was a difference between the interpersonal trust and cooperation relationship for the dyads based on the frequency of their monthly interactions. The relationship between interpersonal trust, affect- and cognition-based trust and cooperation among the dyads was found to be significant. This study provides empirical and theoretical support for interpersonal trust and cooperation in dyadic relationships and strategic alliances.