Demographic homophily, communication and trust in intra-organizational business relationships

Ahlf, H., Horak, S., Klein, A. and Yoon, S. (2019). Demographic homophily, communication and trust in intra-organizational business relationships. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 474-487.
DOI: 10.1108/JBIM-03-2018-0093

In this research, we study the effect of demographic homophily, interpersonal communication, and trust on perceived relationship quality between co-workers and their commitment to each other in an intra-organizational business-to-business setting. Using theories on business relationships and interpersonal communication, we discover that demographic homophily and communication are necessary prerequisites, whereas trust is the main driver for perceived relationship quality and commitment in business relationships. Unlike common thinking,
demographic homophily does not directly increase the perceived relationship quality. We find a significant direct effect of communication on relationship commitment, but no effect of commitment on perceived relationship quality. Both seem to play independent roles but are positively influenced through the emergence of trust. We analyze a sample of employees from South Korea, a country where Confucian values are pronounced: thus demographic homophily is appreciated and hierarchical corporate structures are omnipresent. Our results contribute to the knowledge and nature of interpersonal bonding and help companies to establish long-term
business relationships.

business relationships, relationship quality, relationship commitment, trust, demographic homophily, interpersonal communication, South Korea

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