Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Steven K. Million

Second Supervisor

James E. Schwartz

Abstract

Trust is at the heart of most human relationships, and for certain, at the heart of most long-term business relationships. The subject of hundreds of studies, books and papers , there is a universal yearning for the knowledge of how trust is gained, nurtured and protected. This study focuses on how trust in buyer-seller relationships may be affected by relational demographics – that is, how people appear to each other in terms of race, age and gender. In the United States, over $16 billion is spent annually on goods and services in the wastewater treatment market. How relational demographics influence the buyer’s selection of the vendors in this market may be of value to business practitioners and interest to scholars, and may have implications for social justice. Given the wide range of theories claiming to explain how trust evolves between buyers and sellers, a grounded theory study was used to examine the development of trust from the inside of one relatively isolated, technically-oriented, and richly-funded marketplace.

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