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

Kingsley Obi Omeihi, Isaac Oduro Amoako, Veronica Gustafsson, Mohammad Saud Khan, Ibiyemi Omeihi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


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 & Entrepreneurship
Issue number6
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship. Omeihi, KO, Amoako, IO, Gustafsson, V, Khan, MS & Omeihi, I 2020, 'Getting Personal: the issues of trust and distrust in small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria', Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, vol. (In-Press), pp. (In-Press)..

It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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