Trust unravelled: In inter-organisational relationships in a regulated tender environment

Alf Smolders

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

457 Downloads (Pure)


Scientists say that trust in inter-organisational relationships leads to high performance, project success, and better quality in construction work. Later research shows that distrust also plays an important role in preventing excessive trust in relationships. It is better to say that a stable state of trust is the balance between trust and distrust and leads to optimal performance. As an employee at the Dutch rail infrastructure manager (the asset owner), my experience in the rail maintenance market is that trust has a limited role in inter-organisational relationships. Inter-organisational relationships are organised via contracts where the output (performance), minimum standards, and tasks and roles are described in detail. Corporate lawyers regularly discuss the requests of change (technically and financially) from the rail maintenance contractors. Trust may have a larger role in inter-organisational relationships between the key figures who manage the contract to improve the output (performance).
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Dollevoet, R.P.B.J., Supervisor
  • Santema, S.C., Advisor
  • Veeneman, W.W., Advisor
Award date28 Mar 2019
Print ISBNs978-94-6384-016-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • trust
  • distrust
  • inter-organisational relationship
  • contract
  • monopsony
  • oligopoly


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