The German Automotive Industry

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Chapter three gives the reader an overview of the thesis’ methodology and an understanding of why and how we have done the analysis. Furthermore, a detailed description of the paper selection process is given and the chapter concludes with an abstract of the quality assessment of the given thesis.

Research Philosophy

Every research study is different and four different research philosophies can be applied:
positivism, realism, interpretivism, and pragmatism.
For our thesis the best suitable approach is interpretivism as specific details of a business situation including relationships are the focus and we as the researchers want to look behind these details (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). In addition, we have chosen interpretivism due to the fact that we gained in-depth knowledge, which is possible by using this approach (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). Because less is known about trust deterioration in supplier-buyer relationships as well as indicators and counteractions of trust deterioration, depth data of this topic is needed.
Furthermore, Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012) mentioned to use small samples and qualitative research when adopting an interpretivistic research philosophy. As we have conducted 10 interviews from each industry and the data is gathered through semi-structured interviews, the research strategy is in line with the research philosophy.

Literature Review

Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) showed that the literature sources are divided in primary, secondary and tertiary sources. Primary sources are reports, theses, company’s reports, conferences, and some government publications. Secondary sources are journals, books and newspapers. Tertiary sources are indexes, abstracts, catalogues, encyclopaedias and dictionaries. The primary sources are more detailed compared to the other types of sources. For the specific research of our thesis and our literature review, primary and secondary resources have been used.
Bell (2005) went one step further and said that it is essential to identify some main criteria before reviewing the literature sources. Criteria such as the published language, the published year, the ranking of the journals, the number of citations as well as the relevance of the topic should be identified before starting the literature review.
For this specific research, English was the language criterion. With regard to the publication of the chosen literature it is important to mention that the literature about trust, trust factors, trust deterioration as well as the chosen model in itself is from the 1990s and older. However, we implemented up-to-date literature to show that the relevance of the topic is still given even though the topic basis is older. The number of citations by other authors was another criterion for the sources selection process. Finally, we decided to use mainly the databases “Web of Science” and “Ebscohost” to select appropriate journals within the area of the research topic. The main key words used were “trust”, “trust factors”, “trust deterioration”, “trust development”, “trust in a relationship” and “trust and culture”.
From all the articles being found, a subset of 101 were selected. In the first selection process, abstracts were assessed to find out whether these articles really fit with the report’s objectives and if not, they were rejected. Table 1 shows an excerpt of the most frequently used papers before and after the final selection. The complete table can be found in appendix 1.
In order to ensure that only articles were reread that dealt with trust factors, trust deterioration, trust development and the development of trust in supplier-buyer relationships, the further following step was performed. All remaining papers were examined in more detail. Meaningful articles used as quotes within the remaining papers were checked as well on necessity and fulfilment of the already mentioned relevant criteria. This step went hand in hand with the criteria check of peer reviewed articles including a high number of citations. If the articles fulfilled the criteria, they were also included in this report.
The next stage of the selection process was to reject a number of papers due to the fact that the research did not address the purpose of our thesis or the articles focused more on other trust topics rather than on trust factors, trust deterioration and trust development in supplier-buyer relationships.
After performing the described steps of the paper selection process we ended up with 66 papers as a result of the “filtering” for further analysis. All 66 papers were then used to write an appropriate literature review.

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Research Approach

Three different approaches for research studies were identified by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012): deduction, induction and abduction. Those concepts deal with the availability of theory at the beginning of the research project.
The deductive approach is used when researchers clarify their theory and topic at the beginning of the study, set hypotheses afterwards and test them to examine whether the theory is true or false. The opposite approach is induction and hereby theory is created and developed based on the observations and the results of the research. The third approach, abduction, is a combination of the other concepts and the researcher is going back and forth between data and theory in this process (Saunders and Lewis, 2012).
For our thesis we used the deductive approach. After doing a broad review of the actual literature, we gained an overview of the chosen topic as well as the described model. These analyses resulted in the identification of the research gap regarding trust deterioration and the transferability of the model. These gaps were the basis for defining our research questions, which are based on existing theory (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012), instead of setting hypotheses. The aim of the thesis is to answer our research questions in order to close the existing gap in the literature.

Research Method

The gathered data within a research study can be differentiated between numeric and non-numeric, like words and images, or a mixture of both. It should be distinguished and differentiated to determine whether quantitative or qualitative research is used. In order to collect quantitative data, researchers have to use standardized procedures like questionnaires, whereas for qualitative data non-standardized ways are appropriate, such as interviews (Saunders and Lewis, 2012).

1. Introduction 
1.1 Background
1.2 Research Problem
1.3 Research Purpose and Research Questions .
1.4 Delimitations
1.5 Structure
2. Frame of Reference 
2.1 Trust
2.2 Trust across cultures
2.3 Development of Trust
2.4 The Integrative Trust Model
2.5 Perception of the model in the literature
2.6 Summary
3. Methodology
3.1 Research Philosophy
3.2 Literature Review
3.3 Research Approach
3.4 Research Method
3.5 Research Strategy
3.6 Time Horizon
3.7 Choice of Respondents
3.8 Data Collection
3.9 Data Analysis
3.10 Research Quality
3.11 Ethics
4. Empirical Findings
4.1 The German Automotive Industry
4.2 The German Aerospace Industry
5. Analysis
5.1 Analysis of the German Automotive Industry
5.2 Analysis of the German Aerospace Industry
5.3 Summary of the Analysis
6. Conclusion 
6.1 Limitations of the study
6.2 Further Research
7. Reference list
Factors of trust and trust deterioration in supplier-buyer relationships

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