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 17: Measuring Trust in Organizational Contexts: An Overview of Survey-based Measures

Nicole Gillespie


Nicole Gillespie INTRODUCTION The organizational trust literature has burgeoned over the past two decades. Whilst this expanding research has produced increasing coherence on the conceptualization and definition of trust, the same cannot be said about the psychometric measurement of trust. Rather, the measurement of trust has received scant attention, resulting in a highly fragmented and idiosyncratic use of trust measures, and a confusing array of instruments that vary widely in construct validity and the number and type of trust dimensions (McEvily and Tortoriello, 2011). This chapter aims to provide researchers with insights into the issues and challenges involved in measuring trust in organizational settings through survey measures. Drawing on existing reviews, as well as my own review of the literature, I discuss the strengths and limitations of the psychometric measurement of trust, and provide recommendations for choosing appropriate trust instruments. I conclude by reflecting on my experience of searching for an appropriate trust scale and how this led to the development of a new scale, the Behavioral Trust Inventory. The rationale, methodology and challenges involved in developing this inventory are described, along with its validity and appropriate application. Before discussing the measurement of trust, it is essential first to clarify what we mean by trust. In the organizational literature, there has been increasing convergence on the defining conceptual features of trust. Since the seminal work of Mayer et al. (1995), organizational researchers have increasingly defined trust as ‘the willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of another party.’ In a...

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