The chapter focuses on the utility of the concepts of trust in understanding the relations among entrepreneurs. In this case, trust is viewed as social capital and functional for the day‐to‐day operations of entrepreneurs. It provides arguments that explore the contexts under which cooperation prevails in what one can call ‘trustful conditions.’ The chapter is based on a qualitative research, which utilized in‐depth interviews, key informants, and direct observation. The target group is that of remittance transporters popularly known as malayisha (a Zulu concept derived from the bulkiness of the goods they ferry). The concept of trust and how it creates and sustains a culture of networking is explored particularly from classical views of scholars like Durkheim in which case it is likened to ‘social facts.’ The chapter further examines the utility of trust in institutional settings such as in families, friendships, and group alliances. The role of trust is viewed as inclusionary and exclusionary in networks. The chapter also highlights some of the challenges related to using the concept of trust in theory and practice.
- social capital
Trust can be viewed from many angles that include social, economic, political, and psychological. In this chapter, relations and social norms that result in the creation and sustenance of trust between drivers and clients leading to so‐called ‘trust full’ conditions are not only contextualized but also complex. This line of argument can be illustrated by a quote from the research carried out in 2008 where a client preferred to stick to the old
It follows that methodologically, the chapter is informed by the work of Yin  where there is emphasis on the importance of interacting with real‐world situations and the persons in them but also ensuring that the researcher uses formal means in entering and exiting the field. In addition, there is emphasis on the importance of the researcher to make every effort to be familiar with the research setting. The ideas of Yin further became valuable within the context of dealing with my research group since they enabled me to approach the
2. An overview on the concept of trust in
The study also revealed that there are instances when exploring trust relations among
It is also crucial to note that the commonality of statements such as ‘most people cannot be trusted’ as argued by Nyoni  in which the writer sees this as a part of how people's perceptions on trust can be understood, and it is equally important to note that on another level such uttering say rather little about the nature and limits of trust itself. The implication in the line of arguments pursued thus far in relation to the establishment and sustenance of trust relations points to that inasmuch as it might appear as though a relatively common pattern might exist in defining such relations, it does not reflect the holistic notions as can be found in day‐to‐day interaction realities. The ambiguity is further revealed when one tries to understand for instance what a
According to Refs. [6–8], it is importance to note that it does not always automatically follow that certain interactions would relate to general accounts of social trust. Instead the scholars posit arguments similar to those of Ref. , where it is indicated that the best way of understanding trust is to explore it in line with theoretical approaches of trust that begin with freely chosen and essentially private interactions, as depicted in a typical scenario of friendship or love. While friendship provides the ideal, such a notion of trust can be applied more broadly to interactions between individuals that are not secured by contract or enforced by law. This would range from those individuals who are closest to us to those who are strangest. In this study, one of the
Some writers such as Nyoni and Lin [3, 10] have noted that individuals rely on trust, basically, in situations of uncertainty of their situation as well as precariousness of their relations with those they are interacting with. The implication is that trust is a means of mediating the risks associated with social interaction as noted in Ref. . According to some scholars, in its everyday usage, the concept of trust embraces the assumption that ‘those one does not know and those who do not know you are nevertheless not dangerous’ just as is explained in Refs. [11–14]. The response from a
‘…My clients have very high trust on me because we have been working together for quite a long time…’
Seligman's assumption that those one does not know and those who do not know you are nevertheless perceivably not dangerous is therefore one sided and limited in scope as it does not adequately explain the complex incidents located in the practices of
One may therefore reach a conclusion that is such types of ‘low‐level trust’, as well as the complexities surrounding measuring levels of trust involved in establishing and sustain relations that not only facilitate day‐to‐day interactions but also ensure that every day social action and interaction take place while also permitting individuals to get involved in so‐called ‘hidden’ day‐to‐day practices, or even to use dark streets and in the process entrusting their safety to strangers as noted by Nyoni , Hancock and Algozzine , Mungiu . Trust in this sense is both generalized and highly contextualized, consequently implying that one draws on resources of trust routinely and often involuntarily, but always in the context of specific settings and social encounters.
3. Trust as social capital among
A lot of networks and relations in the study were shown to be built on family ties where in certain instances remitters tended to be close to the driver or else sharing the same neighborhood in Zimbabwe. The importance of family ties among migrant populations has also been emphasized by Landau and Haupt  where it is noted that these networks enhance the survival of the migrants in various ways. A remitter was also quoted emphasizing trust drawn from family when she had this to say:
‘I had every reason to trust him as I knew that he was my uncle and we come from the same place at home.’ Interview 3 with a maphathisa, November 11, 2008, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Interview 3 with a maphathisa, November 11, 2008, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The arguments related to the conceptualization of trust can be linked to how trust may be used in understanding notions of social capital, especially in terms of its position of a moral necessity on the one hand and an economic asset on the other. In such a line of argument, trust can therefore be viewed as an end in itself as well as a lubricant for social and economic action as noted in Ref. . This view highlights the dimension of trust as a goal in itself as well as ‘oil’ for socio?economic action. This can be highlighted through information from a
The study revealed cases where the establishment and sustenance of trust relations among
The significance of recognizing the agency presented by individual players where they draw from trust as a form of social capital as posited through
It is also important to explore how this study tends to present an opportunity of putting into question scholars such as Granovatter whose idea, despite being importance, seems to be overemphasizing the importance of weak ties since for instance being assisted by a friend indicates the significance of ‘strong ties’ and networks which one can equate to ‘networks of reciprocity.’ This is largely due to the fact that individual's future actions and relationships highly depend on the assistance and interactions within
It must, however, be noted that many close relationships extend over a number of potential arenas for action, including across more than one community or organization, and bridging opportunities are said to be found in abundance in such instances as noted in Refs. [19, 20]. It is also important to consider the views expounded in Refs. [21–25] who have suggested a shift from bonding to bridging networks, and the responses from the
4. Challenges in using trust and social capital
One of the main challenges arising when using trust and social capital in analyzing social action relates to the multiple networks and relations that a
It can also be noted that although within the remittance transportation business social capital is an undeniably desirable feature, it becomes equally important to avoid over‐romanticizing it because in some instances it has been difficult to explain the challenges where social capital and its associated networks may lead to undesirable effects and fail to accommodate the broader interests of the group as argued by Molm et al. . This question needs to be explored even if such capital would have accrued benefits to a section of society. It therefore follows that within the context of remittance transportation, what one may call the ‘gloomy side’ of capital would relate to criminal acts as perpetrated such as human trafficking and smuggling illegal items by some The word ‘impisi’ refers to destitutes who are found in forests but whose main aim is to rob travelers. The concept is drawn from its ordinary usage where an ‘impisi’ is a hyena. ‘Amagumaguma’ are groups of criminals found at the Beitbridge border post who rape, rob, and murder unsuspecting travelers.
The word ‘impisi’ refers to destitutes who are found in forests but whose main aim is to rob travelers. The concept is drawn from its ordinary usage where an ‘impisi’ is a hyena.
‘Amagumaguma’ are groups of criminals found at the Beitbridge border post who rape, rob, and murder unsuspecting travelers.
In further understanding the social capital among the
It can further be emphasized that the moral regulations and expectations governing so‐called informal relations do not require the support of formal structures for regulatory backups as these informal arrangements in themselves constitute a set of sanctions that can be in the form of exclusion or threats of exclusion or isolation or even assault that are enough to deter would‐be violators from dishonoring their morally bound cooperating obligations. Similarly, it is important to note the limitations of modernist‐oriented views from Ref.  with a tendency to reduce the specificity of culture and society into abstract and essentializing frameworks, which are then deemed broadly applicable to all cultural contexts. The arguments raised in this paper are aligned to efforts aimed at challenging essentializing explanations by borrowing views from scholars such as Thornton who embrace the flexible approaches in theorizing about the Iraqw culture. Drawing from the arguments by Thornton on the Iraqw culture, one can possibly find an important angle to understand the complex nature of interactions between
It can therefore be argued that the period covering Zimbabwe's economic downturn is characterized by a notable shift to informal remittance systems. The unavailability of basic commodities in Zimbabwe particularly during the 2007–2008 period has saw a group of
The study revealed how complex trust relations among various actors are within remittance transportation. In essence, inasmuch as various actors were seen as active agents who could draw from various levels of trust, it became clear that this concept together with social capital is fluid and complex. One can by no means be able to tell how much trust is needed to establish and sustain a particular relationship or how much of it lacks to result in a break of relationship. Trust therefore not only remained fluid by indicated features of dynamism as well. It is therefore important to note that trust as social capital occupies an important position in determining the strength of relations and networks. While trust has previously been restricted to informal relations that lack so‐called formal contractual obligations, to the contrary, the study noted that the moral regulations that are reinforced by fear of punishment or exclusion can act as deterrents for the would‐be violators within
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- Interview 3 with a maphathisa, November 11, 2008, Johannesburg, South Africa.
- The word ‘impisi’ refers to destitutes who are found in forests but whose main aim is to rob travelers. The concept is drawn from its ordinary usage where an ‘impisi’ is a hyena.
- ‘Amagumaguma’ are groups of criminals found at the Beitbridge border post who rape, rob, and murder unsuspecting travelers.