Table of Contents

Trust, Organizations and Social Interaction

Trust, Organizations and Social Interaction

Studying Trust as Process within and between Organizations

Edited by Søren Jagd and Lars Fuglsang

Trust, Organizations and Social Interaction promotes new knowledge about trust in an organizational context. The book provides case-analysis of how trust is formed through processes of social interaction in which actors observe, reflect upon and make sense of trust behaviour and its meaning in an organizational and social environment. It greatly contributes to clarifying what a process view may mean in trust research and to understanding how social interaction processes affect trust.

Chapter 15: From bank to business: contextual change and transformation of trust bases

May-Britt Ellingsen

Subjects: business and management, business ethics and trust, organisation studies


This chapter explores the relationship between trust and social change. It presents a process view on trust based on interactionism and classic sociology combined with a grounded theory methodology. Development and maintenance of trust – trusting – is a dynamic and multi-level process of social construction, a process of sensemaking based on interplay between pre-contractual, relational and structural social bases. Mutual understanding is the engine of the trust process. Mutual understanding triggers the leap of faith from doubt into trusting. The chapter analyses how changes in economic organization on the macro level – deregulation – can transform a trust relationship on the micro level – here between savings bank and customer. Social changes on the macro level influence trust relationships on the micro level; deregulation transforms the social bases for trust between savings bank and customer, and trust is lost and then restored. Social change is changes in the social bases for trust. This study is not about testing a hypothesis, but explores social processes and grounds theories and concepts in empirical findings. Focus is on the social foundation of trusting and the social construction of mutual understanding, which is an unexplored perspective in trust research. The chapter aims to reduce this gap of knowledge.

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