The SMEs’ perspective of trust in a B2B relationship




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Peer reviewed



Despite the diversity in its associated definition and related structures, the role of trust in underpinning long-term business relationships is well established. This article presents an instrument to assess trust from the perspective of Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) towards their banks, an area with limited research to date. Items borrowed from various scale sets presented in existing studies are combined to assess trust by encompassing both the dimensions of credibility and benevolence. Data were collected from 221 SMEs via a self-administered questionnaire completed either by the SME owner or senior manager with responsibility for relationship with their bank, providing 199 usable records. An Exploratory Factor Analysis was used to determine the underlying data structure, with subsequent deployment of Cronbach’s α as a post-hoc assessment of the internal reliability of the retained factors. The analysis presented suggests that the SMEs’ perspective of the trust they have in their banks primarily encompasses credibility, supported by only a marginal presence of benevolence. In absolute terms, these SMEs declare a strongly positive level of credibility-based trust towards their banks despite the financial crises that have plagued the Nigerian banking industry. The originality of this work lies in the investigation of a business-to-business relationship involving SMEs and banks from the perspective of the former in an under-researched emerging economy setting.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


SMEs, banks, trust, credibility, Nigeria, benevolence


Robson, A., Ojeme, M. and Coates, N. (2016) The SMEs’ perspective of trust in a B2B relationship. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 21 (2), pp. 103-112


Research Institute

Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)