Trust under Pressure

Trust under Pressure

Empirical Investigations of Trust and Trust Building in Uncertain Circumstances

Edited by Katinka Bijlsma-Frankema and Rosalinde Klein Woolthuis

This book challenges the current thinking on trust largely based on studies in stable contexts, by presenting new empirical studies of trust and trust building in a number of less stable, less institutionalized settings. These contexts are gaining in prominence given the globalization and virtualization of organizational relations, development of high velocity markets, and the growing importance of intangible resources.

Chapter 5: Trust and Performance: Institutional, Interpersonal and Network Trust

Andrej Rus

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


Andrej Rus INTRODUCTION A revival of interest in trust marks a stage in a long journey ideas have traveled in the past 150 years. About 100 years ago the key concern for incipient social sciences had been the rise of industrial society and the break-up of traditional bases of social solidarity. Their major concern was how social solidarity could be preserved in the face of an emerging capitalism and chaotic urbanization that uprooted people from their small rural communities and brought them to the amoral wilderness of alienated urban areas. The critics claimed that industrial society had broken up traditional bonds that had served as a basis of trust, ‘one of the most important synthetic forces within society’ (Simmel 1950: 318). The modernists represented by Durkheim countered that a new industrial order was creating a new basis for social solidarity through an organic division of labor which required closer cooperation, thus creating stronger than ever moral bonds between the people. In just 100 years the question has been reversed. We are no longer concerned with how economic development affects the quality of social relationships and social solidarity. Instead, we are concerned for the health of the industrial order, seeking ways in which ‘moral order’, social capital and trust in a society could help promote its economic development. To paraphrase, we have stopped asking the economy what it can do for trust and society, and are now asking society what it can do for the economy. Economic growth that was once...

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