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Handbook of Trust Research

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.
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Chapter 2: Reflections on an Initial Trust-Building Model

D. Harrison McKnight and Norman L. Chervany


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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