Title: Trust, reciprocity and reputation in informal networks in post-Soviet Russia

Authors: Sven Horak; Andreas Klein; Anna Svirina

Addresses: The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Department of Management, St. John's University, 8000 Utopia Parkway, New York 11439, USA ' Services Marketing, Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, Krefeld 47805, Germany ' Innovative Enterprise Economics Department, Chistopol Campus, Kazan National Research Technical University, 422951 Chistopol, Engelsa Street, 127a, Russia

Abstract: This research explores the relationship between trust and informal networking using the example of blat/svyazi, simply translated as 'connections', in post-Soviet Russia. We find that a higher articulation of general trust does not reduce the trust in blat/svyazi, but rather both can coexist. Furthermore, the greater the importance a person ascribes to blat/svyazi, the greater the need to establish a reputation within his or her blat/svyazi network, and the greater the trust in blat/svyazi. Therefore, reputation has a mediating effect on trust in blat/svyazi. However, the more important reputation building is for a blat/svyazi-based network transaction as a guarantor for the transaction, the lower the trust in blat/svyazi. We assume that the latter mechanism takes effect due to the ambivalent nature that blat/svyazi developed during post-Soviet times, being today more cognitive trust-based, less social, and more money-centred.

Keywords: informal networks; informal institutions; blat/svyazi; trust; post-Soviet Russia; emerging markets; transitional economies.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2021.114623

European Journal of International Management, 2021 Vol.15 No.4, pp.657 - 685

Received: 24 Feb 2018
Accepted: 14 Aug 2018

Published online: 29 Apr 2021 *

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