Trust issues and engaged Buddhism: The triggers for skillful managerial approaches

Mai Vu, Trang Tran

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25 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


As a transitional economy, Vietnam has undergone tremendous changes over recent decades within a ‘fusion’ context that blends both traditional and modern values from its complex history. However, few studies have explored how contemporary issues in the context of Vietnam have brought both obstacles and skillful initiatives to managerial approaches to doing business. We draw on the concepts of social trust and institutional theory to explore how informal institutions such as religious forces can contribute to the development of individual trust and whether individuals are willing to extend trust beyond familial networks. We contribute to the notion of a moral conception of trust by exploring how Buddhism in particular has initiated distinctive managerial approaches in the context of Vietnam, in response to dilemmas of social trust. Our findings highlight that as an informal institution, engaged Buddhism yields significant impact on the formation of social trust. We carried out in-depth interviews in Vietnam with 33 organizational leaders who were Buddhist practitioners, using thematic analysis to elucidate our findings and arguments. The study reveals how the incorporation of Buddhist principles has fostered context-sensitive, non-extreme, and reflexive managerial approaches to enhance morality as a response to social trust issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-102
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Early online date4 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


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