Vertrouwen is goed, contracteren is beter? Een onderzoek naar het management van transacties tussen afnemers
Trusting is good, contracting is better? An investigation of the management of transactions between buyers and suppliers. Summary: Any business deal requires a certain amount of trust between the parties involved. Business partners can choose to invest in trying to overcome a lack of trust, for instance by writing a detailed contract or by spending a lot of time getting to know the business partner. However, such investments in 'transaction management' come at a price, and at some point the benefits of an extra investment in transaction management no longer compensate the associated costs. We investigate how the social embeddedness of firms affects the investment in the management of a transaction, using a data set of about 900 transactions between small and medium sized firms as buyers of ITproducts and their suppliers. Controlling for economic product characteristics, we find among others that investment in transaction management is smaller between business partners who have a history of satisfactory transactions. Moreover, we conclude that the expectation of transactions in the future with the same partner also decreases investments in transaction management, but only when a history of satisfactory transactions exists. These findings support the assertion that the way in which partners are embedded in an ongoing relation influences the costs of managing transactions.