Table of Contents

Handbook of Trust Research

Handbook of Trust Research

Elgar original reference

Edited by Reinhard Bachmann and Akbar Zaheer

The Handbook of Trust Research presents a timely and comprehensive account of the most important work undertaken in this lively and emerging field over the past ten to fifteen years. Presenting a broad range of approaches to issues on trust, the Handbook features 22 articles from a variety of disciplines on the study of trust in both organizational and societal contexts. With contributions from some of the most eminent names in the field of trust research, this international collaboration is an imaginative and informative reference tool to aid research in this engaging area for years to come.

Chapter 7: Trust, Transaction Cost Economics, and Mechanisms

Philip Bromiley and Jared Harris

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, economics and finance, economic psychology


Philip Bromiley and Jared Harris Introduction Organizational scholars increasingly recognize trust as an important factor in intra- and inter-organizational relations, significantly influencing everything from the behavior of teams to the performance of strategic alliances and supply chains. Ten years have passed since the publication of two early articles on organizational trust: Bromiley and Cummings (1995) and Cummings and Bromiley (1996). In reflecting on the scholarly impact of these papers – and what such an impact might mean for future work in organizational trust – we discuss the concept of trust, briefly revisit the papers, consider the different ways in which the research has been used, and offer thoughts on the relevance of trust to organizational research. Bromiley and Cummings suggest that the inclusion of trust would expand and extend the research framework of transaction cost economics (TCE). Yet this call for TCE research to include the concept of trust has been largely ignored. Why? We summarize and analyze the apparent justifications for omitting or ignoring trust, leading to a critical examination of several theoretical aspects of TCE. We distinguish between TCE’s calculativeness, based on assuming others are self-interest-seeking with guile, and trust, which we define as beliefs or actions not determined by such calculativeness. Defining trust All research on organizational trust faces the question of how to define trust. What do scholars mean when they use the term trust? Trust’s many meanings in common usage have complicated the scholarly discussion. These alternative...

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