Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods on Trust

Handbook of Research Methods on Trust

Second Edition

Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series

Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders

With the growing interest in trust in the social sciences, this second edition of the Handbook of Research Methods on Trust provides a fully updated and extended account of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods for empirical research. While many researchers have already drawn inspiration and insight from the previous edition, the dynamic development of trust research calls for further and deeper engagement with methodological issues, particular methods, practical research experience, and current challenges and innovations as offered by this new edition.

Chapter 4: Trust research: measuring trust beliefs and behaviours

Roy J. Lewicki and Chad Brinsfield

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, research methods in business and management


In this chapter we discuss issues associated with operationalizing trust as a psychological state comprising one’s willingness to accept vulnerability, and the measurement of resultant trusting behaviours. We also discuss implications arising from conceptualizing trust and distrust as distinct constructs, as well as measurement challenges associated with trust development, decline and repair over time. Trust has been conceptualized, defined, modelled, and operationalized in a wide variety of ways, and over a longer period of time than most contemporary trust researchers are aware. Even decades ago, Stack (1978) and Wrightsman (1991) provided comprehensive reviews of then-existing trust measures in use in the field of social psychology. Trust has been viewed as an individual disposition (Rotter, 1967; Worchel, 1979), a psychological state (Lewicki et al., 1998; Rousseau et al., 1998), or a behaviour (Deutsch, 1962; Mayer et al., 1995). Different disciplines have emphasized different components; psychologists have emphasized the importance of individual differences, intentions and expectations over behaviours, while economists have minimized the psychological aspects over the behavioural ‘evidence’. Some approaches to trust have described it only from the perspective of the trustor (Rotter, 1967; Stack, 1978), while others have argued that a full understanding of trust must incorporate the perceived characteristics and behaviours of the trustee, or the person being trusted (for example, Mayer et al., 1995).

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