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Title: European integration and social capital : a study of trust among small businesses in four EU countries
Author: Goodman, Clorinda Mary.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3505 009X
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis is a study of trust in the European Union amongst cross-border traders from the small business sector. It starts by arguing that trust is the missing ingredient required for social cohesion, and to address the democratic deficit. Using a new institutionalist perspective it examines the EU both as a democracy and a market economy. The theoretical framework comes both from theories about European integration and the theory of social capital, particularly trust. Empirical work focuses on small businesses ('SMEs'), which are treated as a paradigm for the EU citizen. The research question is whether cross-border contact among SMEs builds trust within the EU, and the hypothesis tested is that 'truly' entrepreneurial behaviour militates against community formation. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used, with a postal survey and interviews to collect data from the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain. The sample is derived from delegates to the EU’s Europartenariat programme. Survey data is analysed using the SPSS programme, and interview data is analysed using traditional framework analysis. The results show that trust in the EU institutions, and sense of EU citizenship were improved after attending Europartenariat. Interpersonal trust and 'shared identity' are stronger amongst spontaneous rather than cultivated trading partners. Entrepreneurship builds linking trust, and can help extend social networks and build community at supranational and transnational level. A model of trust formation at micro-level, and new perspectives on social networks are presented. Business philosophy/values and the role of intermediaries and 'entrepreneurship' are discussed. Cross-border and cultural differences receive brief comment. It appears that the EU undervalued Europartenariat. The thesis unashamedly adopts the perspective of the micro-political social actors, rather than institutional actors, and investigates the formation of social capital and trust at a supranational level, as a means of assessing the EU's progress towards becoming a cohesive political community.
Supervisor: Cini, Michelle ; Bartlett, Will Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available