An Application of Philosophical Trust to Entrepreneurial Trust-building

Aksel Kistrup Barfod & Frederik Trondhjem Østergaard

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


The purpose of this research is to explore how trust, as a concept from philosophy, finds tangible application in an entrepreneurial context of trust-building with private consumers. We examine how trust from philosophy can enrich our understanding of trust in entrepre-neurship by assessing the role played by trust in the formation of relationships between entrepreneurs in the field of personal finance and private consumers. This paper provides specific insights into a concrete entrepreneurial setting and is based on a theoretical frame-work constituted by philosophy and organisational literature. Our thesis builds on a case-study analysis involving quantitative and qualitative methodologies in an attempt to grasp the elusive concept of trust and assess it from multiple perspectives. Our research builds on a survey conducted with 130 private consumers to understand trust positions towards new digital services in the field of personal finance, 38 interviews with private consumers to gauge their perceptions of trustworthiness towards our startup’s website, and two interviews with founder CEOs who have successfully built relationships of trust with Danish consumers. Findings from our data are understood through the theoretical lenses of four distinct re-search papers on trust, two from philosophy and two from organisational studies, constitut-ing the academic foundation of our thesis.

Our thesis presents key findings regarding the role played by trust in entrepreneurial rela-tionships with private consumers and discusses influential factors in the formation of entre-preneurial trustworthiness. By combining a theoretical understanding of trust with practical trust-building experience, our paper highlights specific consumer concerns pertaining to en-trepreneurship within personal finance. We discuss the role of contracts in relationships of trust and find a notable difference between our two academic disciplines. Contracts may prevent the formation of genuine trust in philosophy but may enable the formation of initial trust in entrepreneurship due to its ability to govern risk and reduce perceptions of uncer-tainty. By analysing current trust-building activities our paper contributes .to entrepreneur-ship literature by providing unique insights into entrepreneurial trust-building as it unfolds in practice, with consumers, as opposed to after-the-fact which characterises most entrepre-neurship literature.

UddannelserCand.soc.oie Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider112
VejledereChristian Garmann Johnsen