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Taina Savolainen and Mirjami Ikonen

By exploring the development of trust as a process in the team context, this chapter aims to illustrate how the process of trust development emerges. The chapter aims to advance the current theoretical discussion and empirical research on intra-organizational processes of trust. The purpose is to meet the existing need for a more dynamic conceptualization of the process and its emergence by employing a qualitative approach to studying trust. The study seeks to shed more light on the dynamics of the micro-level process in teams. This research is explorative in nature, that is, a trial for developing a new way to study trust as a process and to conduct an empirical exploration. The chapter aims to deepen our understanding of trust development as a dynamic process, differing from the mainstream trust research in that applying a qualitative methodology and process view to studying trust makes it possible to produce more in-depth and richer descriptions. The empirical study is conducted in two teams: a sports team and a multi-professional team. Studying trust as a dynamic process and an emergent phenomenon makes the research endeavour highly complex. Nonetheless, there is a need to increase the understanding and contextual empirical knowledge, which makes the effort worthwhile. The main research question is: ‘How does trust develop and how do the nature and dynamics of the trust development process emerge in the intra-organizational work team relationship context?’ The key findings show that the dynamics of trust building in a team manifests itself in multiple developments and that the process unfolds in different patterns.

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Kirsti Malkamäki, Mirjami Ikonen and Taina Savolainen

This qualitative case study aims to improve our understanding of the trust-building process in a ‘real-life’ context based on the implementation of a new management system. This empirical case study focuses on how trust is built between two functional organizational units within a Finnish chain of hypermarkets. The study is based on qualitative data gathered by interviews from actors in these organization units at different levels of the organization. The findings first show that the management system may play an important role in the trust-building process. A common goal, the clear allocation of roles and responsibilities and defined procedures form the basis for efficient cooperation. Transparency, an interactive sharing of knowledge and control based on the management system were seen as the most important features of the trust-building process within an organization. In sum, structural and operational issues have a significant role in the trust-building process at the organizational level. In this case, a well-structured and functioning management system and an appropriate degree of control and monitoring are also seen as antecedents of trust. As interpersonal interaction in general is limited in a large company, communication can be enhanced by well-organized procedures and practices for making interactive participation possible for all personnel. Eventually, within the management system, the fundamental question is how an organization creates value for the customer in fulfilling the promises given, which lays the ground for competitive advantage and success.