Trust as a decision problem or performance
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Original versionJohansen, Svein Tvedt and Selart, Marcus and Gronhaug, Kjell, Trust: Decision Problem or Performance? (2009). The Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Chicago, August 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2411701
Established theories on trust-development explain trust as a product of information, portraying individuals as passive receptacles of trust-related information. These theories however tend to ignore the goals of the trustor. In short existing contribution on trusts tend to portray the development of trust as a decision problem. In this paper we suggest an alternative perspective of trust and trust formation, where we see trust as an intentional goal initiated performance. People trust other people in order to attain social ends. In order to effectively communicate trust people seek to influence their own subjective experience of trust. We refer to this second perspective as the Trust-as-Performance-perspective. The assumptions underlying the two perspectives are compared and contrasted. We show how the two perspectives can be seen as corresponding to different models of trust development. The final section discusses the possible relationships between the perspectives and how the two perspectives together may improve our understanding of trust in relationships.
The Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Chicago, August 2009