Edited by Reinhard Bachmann and Akbar Zaheer
Chapter 2: Reflections on an Initial Trust-Building Model
2 Reﬂections on an initial trust-building model D. Harrison McKnight and Norman L. Chervany Trust is important to organizations because it lubricates the relationships that form the interlocking components of coordination, which, like gears, turn the wheels of commerce. Trust becomes especially important during an organizational crisis (Mishra, 1996) or when supportive structures are inadequate. Thus it is vital to examine how trust forms in various work and commercial settings, because if one can understand the conditions, factors and processes determining this, one can thereby inﬂuence the coordinative consequents of trust. One of many depictions of how trust forms is found in McKnight et al. (1998). Here trust is depicted as it forms in the initial phase of a relationship. The initial phase refers to when parties are unfamiliar with each other (Bigley and Pearce, 1998). By unfamiliar, we mean they have little solid, veriﬁable information about each other, and what they do know is not from ﬁrst-hand, personal experience. This condition usually results from the newness of the relationship (that is, when parties ﬁrst meet), but may also result from a combination of newness and relationship distance, because when parties are socially distant (for example, virtual team members or Internet transactional partners), they may not receive ﬁrst-hand, veriﬁable information about the other for some time. This deﬁnition of the initial phase means the initial phase stops after parties gain veriﬁable information by ﬁrst-hand interactional or transactional experience with each other. Hence experience is...
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