Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders
Chapter 2: Moving between Laboratory and Field: A Multi-method Approach for Studying Trust Judgments
Roderick M. Kramer INTRODUCTION Trust dilemmas arise whenever individuals perceive opportunities to benefit from engaging in trusting behaviour with others, yet recognize doing so entails the risk of exploitation. The research in this chapter examines the determinants of judgment and choice in such dilemmas by adopting a multi-method approach, including the use of both laboratory experiments and qualitative field research to investigate social psychological and organizational processes that influence trust judgments and decisions. The benefits of trust have been amply established in many empirical studies, ranging from experimental investigations (Ostrom and Walker, 2003) to field studies in social and organizational settings (Sztompka, 1999). Obtaining the full range of benefits from trust, however, is often problematic in practice (Cook, Levi and Hardin, 2009; Hardin, 2002; Kramer and Cook, 2004). One problem is that the anticipated gains from trust materialize only when social actors happen to be dealing with others (that is, someone willing to reciprocate their own trusting behaviour). Misplaced trust – engaging in trusting behaviour with individuals who exploit that trust – can be enormously costly. Accordingly, it makes sense for individuals to trust, but only when that trust is likely to be reciprocated by others. From a judgment and decision-making perspective, therefore, decision makers confront such fundamental questions as ‘Whom can I trust?’ ‘How much can I trust them?’ and ‘Under what circumstances can I trust them?’ Such questions constitute vexing judgmental challenges for decision makers. They direct our attention, moreover, to the thorny problem of discrimination – harvesting...
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