Business, cross-cultural contexts, Hungarian negotiators, trust
Trust is considered to be an essential element of effective business relationships. However, it is not easy to build trust as it varies from culture to culture which aspects influence trust-level. Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to discuss the importance of trust in cross-cultural business contexts from Hungarian negotiators’ viewpoint as well as to reveal the factors that determine their trust-level. This provides the originality of the paper, since no research like this has been conducted so far. To achieve this purpose, an assumption was formulated and tested using data deriving from a two-phase research. In the first phase, a questionnaire survey was carried out to assess the importance of trust in cross-cultural business contexts, and then structured interviews were conducted to reveal the determinants of the respondents’ trust-level. The findings show that the factors related to the relationship (e.g. previous experience, duration of the relationship, frequency of the contacts) determine the respondents’ trust-level the most, however, the role of stereotypes is also important. It is also revealed that the potential consequences of the low level of trust include more regulations, more misunderstandings, and changed behaviour and attitude. The paper concludes that even though stereotypes are not the most determining factors, their role is remarkable. The paper also formulates some practical implications, namely that Hungarian negotiators should use stereotypes accurately to avoid behaviours that diminish trust, and foreign businesspeople should be aware of the fact that stereotypes sometimes determine their Hungarian partners’ attitude and trust-level.
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