35th EGOS Colloquium
Enlightening the Future:
The Challenge for Organizations
University of Edinburgh Business School
July 46, 2019
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
35th EGOS Colloquium
July 46, 2019
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Trust, Simmel (1990) argues, is a fundamental fabric of society. In the wake of recent events in politics and society,
scholarly and popular interest in trust has increased. Currently, we seem to be plagued simultaneously with unwarranted distrust
in science and ‘experts’, and unwarranted trust in fake news and social media feeds, highlighting the need to better understand
the evolution, bases and dynamics of trust (e.g. interpersonal trust being replaced by impersonal trust in systems and institutions,
or vice versa; institutionally conferred expertise losing its role in building trust). The aim of this sub-theme is to advance
understanding of the dynamics of trust and distrust by bringing together researchers who can offer theoretical and empirical
insights on these dynamics, particularly as they play out across time and multiple levels of analysis and/or through technology.
Trust dynamics have to some extent been the focus of foundational trust studies (e.g. Lewicki & Bunker, 1995; Zand, 1972), but often with a narrow focus at the interpersonal and micro-group level (Gillespie, 2017). Rather than linear development within one relationship, as these traditional models suggest, there may be dynamic trust spirals across individual and collective levels of analysis, so that trust occurs at the interplay of micro- and macro levels (Ferrin et al., 2008; Schilke & Cook, 2013). A process view on trust, furthermore, calls for renewed attention to trust as temporally situated, drawing on the interpretation of the past and the expectations of the future, and exploration of how trust dynamics will be influenced by the time horizons of trustor and trustee (Jagd & Fuglsang, 2016; Möllering, 2001). It may also be questioned to what extent trust is symmetrical and reciprocated over time (Korsgaard et al., 2015; Skinner et al., 2014), and the extent to which swift trust is a distinct form of trust, refocusing attention on how time and speed determine trust dynamics (Blomqvist & Cook, 2018).
Trust dynamics reflect not only the development and maintenance of trust, but also the destruction and restoration of trust over time. In this work, there is increasing evidence to suggest that distrust is not simply the same as low trust but a distinct concept, and consequently will have distinct but interrelated dynamics which need to be understood in their own right (Bijlsma-Frankema et al., 2015; Guo et al., 2017; Lewicki et al., 1998). However, the dynamics of trust and distrust have not been sufficiently explored. For example, it is not understood whether trust and distrust can co-exist and if and to what extent distrust may function as a barrier to trust development or repair. In line with recent calls for research on the dynamic interplay of trust and distrust and on the temporal dynamics of trust repair mechanisms (Bachmann et al., 2015; Gillespie, 2017), we encourage submissions that address these issues.
Trust relations in modern society are increasingly a complex web of interpersonal and impersonal relations that are embedded and mediated through technology (Giddens, 1990; Sztompka, 1999). Our increasing reliance on technology and digital platforms for relationships, information sharing and collaboration and service delivery poses questions as to how trust dynamics play out in digital contexts (van der Werff et al., 2018). We call for deeper exploration both of trust relationships mediated by digital technology, and of impersonal trust in digital systems and artificial intelligence.
In sum, this sub-theme encourages scholars to revisit the dynamics of trust and distrust in light of recent socio-economic, political and technological developments and disruptions in society. We call for conceptual and empirical papers that deepen and extend understanding of these dynamics as they play out across interpersonal, group, organization and/or inter-organizational levels. We actively encourage papers that bring a stronger temporal, processual and/or multilevel perspective to the study of trust and distrust, as well as those that extend understanding of the dynamics of trust and/or distrust in technology mediated or digital contexts.
Potential questions that could be addressed include (but are not limited to) the following:
How are the dynamics of trust development, decline and restoration related to notions of time, memory and forgetting? How do perceptions of temporality influence trust dynamics?
What is the significance of speed for trust dynamics? To what extent does the pace of trust development in itself change the nature and dynamics of trust (e.g. the development of ‘swift trust’ rather than ‘normal’ trust)?
How do trust and distrust as processes and practices develop, evolve and change within and between organizations over time? Do the dynamics of trust and distrust differ in meaningful ways, and how are they intertwined?
What influence does technology have on trust dynamics? Do trust dynamics that take place solely in a digital context differ to those that occur in face to face or hybrid contexts, and if so how?
What is the basis for trust or distrust in digital systems? Under what circumstances are expert systems trusted or distrusted to establish ‘truth’?
How are the dynamics of trust and distrust affected by asymmetry of trust, power and/or control in the relationship?
How do the dynamics of trust play out across levels, from micro interpersonal and group contexts to the more macro organizational, institutional and societal levels? For example, how do interpersonal and impersonal (organizational or institutional) trust dynamics differ and interrelate?