The Trouble with Trust
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The Trouble with Trust

The Dynamics of Interpersonal Trust Building

Frédérique Six

The Trouble with Trust poses the question: if trust is considered to be important for successful cooperation, why don't high-trust work relationships predominate? Part of the explanation, the author argues, is that it is particularly difficult to build and maintain trust in work relations. This book addresses this problem by providing an in-depth, multi-level empirical analysis of the process by which trust builds up and breaks down in the interaction between people within organizations.
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Chapter 3: Methodology

Frédérique Six


A multiple case study strategy was chosen because ‘how’ questions are being asked about a contemporary set of events over which the researcher has little or no control (Yin, 1994). A case study inquiry relies on multiple sources of evidence, converging in a triangulating fashion and on the prior development of theoretical propositions and hypotheses to guide data collection and analysis (ibid.). Furthermore, a mixed model was applied in which both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used with more or less equal emphasis. The overall design was a two case study organizations approach aimed at analytical generalization, with embedded quantitative designs (trust and trouble event analysis and questionnaire survey), and embedded qualitative designs (observations, open-ended interviews, document analysis and verification meetings). The trust and trouble event analysis allowed for rich narratives and the perceptions of the trustor/lead player to be captured and analysed quantitatively. The questionnaire survey, including a vignette analysis, provided a check on the representativeness of the data collected in the trust and trouble event analysis and enabled new analyses, such as factor analysis, to be performed. Also, data from the questionnaire survey could be controlled for function, gender, age, tenure and social desirability. Observations, open-ended interviews and documents were used as sources of evidence for the qualitative analysis applied to the third research question (impact of organizational context) and for general impressions related to the first two (building trust and dealing with trouble). Finally, verification meetings were held within each organization, which yielded extra insights and confirmation...

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