Edited by Frédérique Six and Koen Verhoest
Chapter 4: Interorganizational trust in Flemish public administration: comparing trusted and distrusted interactions between public regulatees and public regulators
In this chapter, we study interorganizational trust of regulated organizations in regulating organizations in the Flemish public administration. The objective is to better understand interorganizational trust and the (perceived) characteristics of interorganizational interactions that contribute to its development. We propose that the interorganizational trust process is affected by boundary spanners’ perceptions of certain macro and meso-level interaction characteristics. Findings from our nested mixed-method analysis, in which we compared trusted and distrusted interorganizational interactions in Flemish public administration, show that macro- and meso-level interaction characteristics affect the trust process through various direct and indirect mechanisms, that both extent and form of these interaction characteristics are important to understand how they affect interorganizational trust, and that macro- and meso-level interaction characteristics shape each other in neo-institutional structuration processes. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that any due understanding of interorganizational trust must acknowledge that no single group of institutional, rational, or social exchange theories can provide a full understanding of interorganizational trust. A model that allows interdependent macro- and meso-level interaction characteristics to affect the trust process may be required to achieve a comprehensive understanding of interorganizational trust.
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