Abstract

More than ever, entrepreneurs face shortages of financial and human capital, and increasingly, entrepreneurs are turning to virtual communities to build networks and help acquire these resources (Nowak & Grantham, 2000). Utilizing virtual ties within and between organizations is instrumental to the growth and survival of new ventures (Matlay & Westhead, 2007; Morse, Fowler, & Lawrence, 2007). Trust is an essential requirement to building networks (Smith & Lohrke, 2008) and, arguably, trustworthiness is even more important in a virtual environment (Paul & McDaniel, 2004). In this investigation, we examine the influence of trustworthiness on the entrepreneur’s ability to gain recourses necessary to grow the organization through virtual channels. Further, given that much of earlier research on trust in virtual settings has highlighted the importance of communication and exchange processes to promote trust (e.g., Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999) we examine the role of communication and exchanges on building trust in a virtual setting.

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