The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management publishes original articles on topics relevant to studying, implementing, measuring and managing knowledge management and intellectual capital.

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Journal Article

Trust‑Building Mechanisms for the Provision of Knowledge‑Intensive Business Services  pp46-56

Enrico Scarso, Ettore Bolisani

© Mar 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECKM Special Issue, Editor: Eduardo Tome, pp1 - 84

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The term knowledge‑intensive business services (KIBS) indicates private companies whose job consists of collecting, generating, analysing, and distributing knowledge with the purpose of delivering customized services to satisfy client’s needs. KIBS firms rely on highly educated professionals, and supply knowledge resources or other knowledge‑based services that clients are unable or unwilling to develop by themselves. The provision of KIBS entails a bilateral exchange of knowledge between the service provider and the end user along with the entire supply cycle. In this process, not only KIBS firms supply clients with precious elements of technical and applicative knowledge, but also client firms provide KIBS with pieces of knowledge that are necessary for designing a successful solution. As is well underlined in the literature, trust is an essential ingredient of client‑provider knowledge exchanges, so that KIBS companies have deal with it properly. This is not simple, since trust has several dimensions that rely on different trust‑building mechanisms. In light of this, the paper aims to analyse the different forms of trust and the related trust‑building mechanisms that come into play during the delivery of a knowledge‑intensive service. This is done by discussing the findings of a multiple case‑study of a particular group of KIBS, i.e. computer service companies located in the Northeast of Italy. Specifically, the study: a) offers a knowledge‑oriented description of the interactions that take place during the service delivery process between client and KIBS firms; b) analyses the role played by the different forms of trust, as antecedents and consequences of each interaction; c) makes some remarks about the trust building mechanisms that a KIBS company can exploit, and the resulting management implications.


Keywords: KIBS, knowledge interactions, trust-building mechanisms, computer services, case study


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Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 1, ECKM Special Issue / Mar 2011  pp1‑84

Editor: Eduardo Tome

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Guest Editor Dr. Eduardo Tomé
Eduardo concluded a PhD in Economics with a thesis on the European Social Fund in 2001 at the Technical University in Lisbon. His main research interests are Social Policy and Human Resources / Knowledge Management / Intellectual Capital. He has published papers in International Refereed Journals as the Journal of Intellectual Capital, the Journal of European Industrial Training, the International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, and the International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management. Since 2001 he has presented papers in around 4 international conferences every year.


Keywords: nalytic hierarchy process, change processes, co-creation, collective intelligence, competitive intelligence, conceptual learning, hospital-in-the-home units, intellectual capital, KIBS, knowledge interactions, trust-building mechanisms, computer services, case study, KM 2.0, knowledge, knowledge creation, knowledge management, knowledge management maturity, knowledge sharing, knowledge-based development, learning dynamics, operational learning, personal knowledge and skills, problem solving, sensitivity modelling, service business, services, social computing, SPF framework, storytelling, typology, university, user-generated content, Web 2.0, work profile,


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