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 13: Trust Under Pressure: Afterthoughts

Katinka Bijlsma-Frankema and Rosalinde Klein Woolthuis

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


Katinka Bijlsma-Frankema and Rosalinde Klein Woolthuis Although trust is a much debated topic, empirical research on trust relations that are not sustained by institutional mechanisms and ‘taken-for-granted’ rules of the game have so far received relatively little attention (Child 1998; Humphrey 1998; Reed 2001). The studies presented in this book focused on exactly those relationships in which partners have little to fall back upon to build trust, that is, to make their ‘leap of faith’ (Bradach and Eccles, 1989). The studies described situations in which actors are members of different organizations, tribes or countries; relationships are not embedded in a shared institutional structure, common culture, or networks; and/or transactions are not backed up by contracts, monitoring or sanctioning systems. Other factors, such as the increasing importance of intangible resources and the pace with which technologies develop, also contribute to the complexity of governing cooperative relations. This book aimed to shed some preliminary light on trust and trust building in situations where several institutional, taken-for-granted, or rational bases for control and trust are lacking. The question this book broached is: how do actors build and sustain trust in these situations; how do actors deal with ‘trust under pressure’? The empirical studies presented in this book were conducted by scholars with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds, employing insights from many fields, including organization theory, knowledge management, sociology, psychology, economics, management, human resources management and communication sciences. Empirical data were gathered in twelve different countries, including Eastern European countries, Mexico and Tanzania...

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