Handbook of Research Methods on Trust
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Handbook of Research Methods on Trust

Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders

The Handbook of Research Methods on Trust provides an authoritative in-depth consideration of quantitative and qualitative methods for empirical study of trust in the social sciences. As this topic has matured, a growing number of practical approaches and techniques has been utilised across the broad, multidisciplinary community of trust research, providing both insights and challenges. This unique Handbook draws together a wealth of research methods knowledge gained by trust researchers into one essential volume. The contributors examine different methodological issues and particular methods, as well as share their experiences of what works, what does not work, challenges and innovations.
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Chapter 14: Deepening the Understanding of Trust: Combining Repertory Grid and Narrative to Explore the Uniqueness of Trust

Melanie J. Ashleigh and Edgar Meyer


Melanie J. Ashleigh and Edgar Meyer INTRODUCTION Historically, much of the research on trust has been viewed through a positivist lens, where scholars have been consumed with attempting to extract rational functionality from this complex and intangible concept. For example the contentious issue of definition is still being debated several decades after Deutsch’s (1958) first ideas that trust consisted of ‘confident expectation’ in others based on co-operative interdependence that would lead to favourable outcomes. Nearly half a century later trust is still being researched as a commodity one can use or analyse to extract a favourable outcome. It has been subjected to various categorisation analyses for example cognitive-based or affective-based trust (McAllister, 1995) and calculus-based, knowledge-based and identification-based trust (Lewicki and Bunker, 1996). Research, however, has brought ‘the functionality’ of trust into question, arguing for promoting a move towards ‘hermeneutic frameworks and methods’ (Möllering, 2001: 404) and the aim of this chapter therefore is to encourage trust researchers to adopt more integrative and inductive approaches when measuring trust. This was achieved by using some parts of two inductive theories – repertory grid and narrative. These two methods both emanate from a research paradigm that promotes the grounding of findings in the situated nature of the research context. Used together they are compatible as well as complimentary to each other. Repertory grid can be used at a surface level (for example to generate bottom-up constructs), whilst narrative can be used to explore beneath the surface and reflect on trust as a...

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