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 7: Trust and social capital: challenges for studying their dynamic relationship

Boris F. Blumberg, José M. Peiró and Robert A. Roe

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


In this chapter the dynamic nature of trust and social capital is explored. By showing how networks and social capital change over time, the challenges of measuring trust within these networks are set out. The implications for researching trust using longitudinal studies are identified. The idea that trust is an important phenomenon in social networks has been acknowledged by many researchers. It is commonly assumed that a certain degree of trust among members is necessary for a social network to emerge and be maintained. A decline of trust can easily result in erosion or rupture of a social network. Several researchers have linked the notion of trust to social capital, suggesting that resource sharing by networks’ members depends on their trust in one another. Trust has even been seen as an inherent part of social capital. In this chapter we present another view of the relation between trust and social capital. In contrast to earlier work in which trust was seen as part of social capital we consider trust as a factor in the dynamics of social networks that affects both the use of social capital and its effects. Taking a dynamic look at trust as well, we reflect on how declining and increasing trust will influence the magnitude of social capital as well as its depletion and its replenishment after having been used. Investigating this model empirically poses several challenges to researchers.

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