Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series
Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders
Chapter 21: The actor–partner interdependence model: a method for studying trust in dyadic relationships
Dyadic relationships, such as those between leaders and followers, buyers and sellers, or joint venture partners, involve parties acting simultaneously as trustor and trustee. The actor–partner interdependence model allows researchers to model, rather than ‘design out’, the interdependence within such dyads, providing opportunities to uncover new insights into how trust forms and the effects of trust in dyadic interactions. Dyadic trust research typically focuses on trustee behaviours and characteristics that earn, maintain, or repair another’s trust, and/or on trustor perceptions, beliefs, and intentions toward a trustee. This approach of understanding trust as a dyadic trustor–trustee phenomenon can be seen in trust’s foundational literatures of game theory (Deutsch, 1958) and close relationships (Rempel et al., 1985), and in more contemporary research on leader–follower trust (Dirks and Ferrin, 2002), trust between work colleagues (McAllister, 1995), trust between groups (Serva et al., 2005), relationships between participants in laboratory studies (Schweitzer et al., 2006), and negotiation studies (Kong et al., 2014), among others. In most real-life dyadic relationships, each party acts simultaneously as both trustor and trustee. For instance, in a leader–follower dyad, the leader will typically behave in ways that earn or damage the follower’s trust while at the same time forming his or her own beliefs about the follower’s trustworthiness. And the follower will behave in ways that earn or damage the leader’s trust while at the same time forming beliefs about the leader’s trustworthiness.
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