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  • Esteban Lizarazo (Researcher in Supply Chain

Why Trust Matters in Management and Life. Reflections from a supply chain practitioner.


I was reading a very good book “Logistics and Supply Chain Management” written by Martin Christopher an emeritus professor at Cranfield University. He claims that is very important to any supply chain to develop the four r’s: resilience, relationship, reliability, responsiveness. I was thinking that it would not only be good to have these concepts developed in supply chain management for any business, but also in practice, learning to handle these concepts in top management and life. I came to this writing after hours of reflection and my strong conviction that through the supply chain lens you can discover a different way of seeing things and life. I hope you at the end of this paper, you can get some reflections for your daily practice and personal life.

In this opportunity, I will address the Reliability term firstly, mainly because I believe it is the most fundamental for practitioners and can be easily adapted. The most likely cause of reliability in supply chain management is trusty relationships and now at days It is more common to give enormous effort to the construction and bindings of trusty relationship between stakeholders. In the same way, I find also valid and prompt the assumptions held here for any kind of relationship. Let me ask you a question before moving on and please try to take sometimes for thinking about it. How reliable (trusty) are we as managers for our team, organization, friends and family?

From a Supply Chain point of view, Trust and can be broadly defined as the willingness to rely on an exchange partner in whom one has confidence (Flint et al., 2005). Trust also can be derived from commitment, understood as “an implicit or explicit pledge of relational continuity between exchange partners”. One mayor drawback of this definition is that we don’t agree on what the pledges are. What are my expectations and limitations and what are yours should be mandatory questions for most of relationships. For example, it is common in managers to not feedback properly, driving all the attentions for the results but not understanding the limitations and constraints that can appear from time to time. Do you take your time to understand and allow others to understand your pledges? Or is it just your assumption that you rely more in tacit agreements? Transparency and a clear outline may be part of the solution here and definitely something to put in practice.

It is a widely held view that interdependence can strengthen trust. Previous studies mostly defined interdependence as the need that a firm has to maintain relationship with an exchange partner in order to achieve a goal. The mutual dependence between the firms is a strong motivator for the exchange of key information and participate in planning joint operational processes. Also, the Interdependence is strongly related to the long-term relationship objectives. When I first read the term, my personal coach pop up in my mind (let this be the opportunity to give my gratitude to Ximena Angarita for hour of patience and her helpful and practical hints) explaining how important is to look in life for win to win relationships with your kinfolks. It is interdependence the ultimate goal of any kind of relationship and far more complex to achieve and pervade than what are usually the dependent and independent relationships (generally found them in most of our interactions in life and work). In general, therefore, it seems that trust is the most important characteristic that supply chain management practices can teach to other fields and personal life and is supported as I wrote in building up interdependent comradeship.


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