What makes trust such a powerful concept? Is it merely that in trust the whole range of social forces that we know play together? Or is it that trust involves a peculiar element beyond those we can account for? While trust is an attractive and evocative concept that has gained increasing popularity across the social sciences, it remains elusive, its many facets and applications obscuring a clear overall vision of its essence. In this book, Guido Mollering reviews a broad range of trust research and extracts three main perspectives adopted in the literature for understanding trust. Accordingly, trust is presented as a matter of reason, routine or reflexivity. While all these perspectives contribute something to our understanding of trust, Mollering shows that they imply, but cannot explain, suspension the leap of faith that is typical of trust. He, therefore, proposes a new direction in trust research that builds on existing perspectives but places the suspension of uncertainty and vulnerability at the heart of the concept of trust.Beyond a purely theoretical line of argument, the author discusses implications for empirical studies of trust and presents original case material that captures the experience of trust in terms of reason, routine, reflexivity and suspension. Mollering concludes by suggesting how the new approach can enhance the relevance of trust research and its contributions to broader research agendas concerning the constitution of positive expectations in the face of prevalent uncertainty and change at various levels in our economies and societies. The book is essential reading for anyone who wants to gain a thorough understanding of trust. It can serve as a general introduction for advanced students and scholars in the social sciences, especially in economics, sociology, psychology and management. For more experienced researchers, it is a challenging and provocative critique of the field and a new approach to understanding trust. It provides a detailed examination of trust as a social concept; argues that trust can be a matter of reason, routine, or reflexivity; and discusses theoretical aspects of trust but addresses practical applications as well.
Guido Mollering is a Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. He holds a PhD in Management Studies from the University of Cambridge, UK. His research is generally in the area of interorganizational relationships and the constitution of markets with specific interests in trust and collective institutional entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, some of them in leading journals such as Organization Science and Sociology, and co-edited a Special Issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology on the micro-foundations of organizational trust. He is the author of the book Trust: Reason, Routine, Reflexivity, published by Elsevier in 2006.
Chapter 1: Allured by Trust? Chapter 2: Trust and Reason Chapter 3: Trust and Routine Chapter 4: Trust and Reflexivity Chapter 5: The Leap of Faith Chapter 6: Studying Trust Chapter 7: Experiencing Trust Chapter 8: Positive Expectations