Trusts in Business Research: A Concise Systematic Literature Review

  •  Andrea Pulcini    
  •  Damiano Montani    
  •  Daniele Gervasio    


This study is a concise, systematic literature review of a legal instrument called the ‘trust’ in academic business research. Therefore, it aims to define the state-of-the-art and future research paths on this topic.

Web of Science and Scopus are bibliographic databases used to collect data, and a rigorous and transparent methodological protocol has been used to conduct a systematic literature review.

The study of bibliometric data and the content analysis of the research sample allow for insightful considerations, showing the main business areas dealing with trusts (the financial, historical, and corporate governance areas) and mapping the specific sub-topics of each one. Moreover, a new trend outlines the increasing interest in trusts and connected institutions (investment trusts, trust companies, unit trust funds, real estate investment trusts) from the traditional UK and US contexts to new emerging countries such as China, Malaysia, and South Africa. In conclusion, many gaps in the literature and opportunities for future business research are outlined.

This study helps overcome the traditional juridical study perspective of trusts, showing many links with businesses and corporations and encouraging scholars to investigate the trusts in the business world.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.