Getting Personal: the issues of trust and distrust in small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria

Kingsley Obi Omeihe*, Isaac Oduro Amoako, Veronika Gustafsson, Mohammad Saud Khan, Ibiyemi Omeihe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There is a pronounced paucity of empirically rigorous study that focuses on the impact of trust on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in a developing market context. This article offers a fresh perspective on the simultaneous relationship between trust and distrust by exploring the complex process through which they are developed. Constructed in the assumptions of multidimensionality and the inherent tensions of relationships, the design of this study is interpretive, following an emergent iterative process, where three distinct types of trust, cognitive-based trust, affect-based trust and calculus-based trust were considered as critical components for successful SME relationships. Conversely, the unpredictable negative behavior of a trade partner was critical to the development of calculus-based distrust and identification-based distrust. The results facilitate a better understanding of the distinct types of trust and distrust that underpin SME relationships in Nigeria and other developing economies, particularly in Africa. This article contributes to the ongoing debate over the two contrary yet complementary opposites of trust and distrust, and their ability to provide explanations to economic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 907–926
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Issue number6
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • confiance
  • distrust
  • fiabilité
  • méfiance
  • Nigeria
  • PME
  • réseaux sociaux
  • SMEs
  • social networks
  • Trust
  • trustworthiness


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