series: ERIM PhD Series;EPS-2004-040-ORG
Trust and trouble; Building interpersonal trust within organizations
(Vertrouwen en verstoringen; interpersoonlijk vertrouwen bouwen binnen organisaties)
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Frédérique Six (1962) studied Environmental Engineering at Wageningen University. Upon graduation in 1987 she joined McKinsey & Company as a business analyst and obtained her MBA at INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France) in 1988. She rejoined McKinsey & Company as an associate and worked in the Amsterdam and London offices from 1989-1993 providing management consulting services to top management of large corporations and government institutions. From 1993 through 1999 she worked with KPMG Environmental Consulting as a senior management consultant and with KPMG Inspire Foundation as a senior researcher researching new ways of organizing. She has coedited The trust process, empirical studies of the determinants and the process of trust development (with Bart Nooteboom, Edward Elgar, 2003). In 2004 she obtained her Ph.D. in management at Erasmus University Rotterdam and joined the department of Public Administration and Organization Science at Free University (Amsterdam). Her research focuses on integrity and trust within and between organizations in both public and private sector. Her research interests are integrity dilemmas; dynamics of trust processes in work relations; creating structures and processes that stimulate integrity and trust; creating conditions for learning, innovation and change in organizations; tackling social challenges with dialogue in issue networks, social entrepreneurship and social partnerships.
The purpose of this study is to find out more about how trust works as an interactive and asymmetrical process, how trust is built up against the inevitable occurrence of trouble and how organizational policies and settings affect the generation and maintenance of trust. A theory of interpersonal trust building is developed based on relational signalling theory. The key argument put forward in this study is that for interpersonal trust to be built in work relations within organizations, both individuals in the relationship need to have their actions guided by a stable normative frame. Thus the stability of normative frames becomes a joint goal and likely to be jointly produced within the relationship. The theory shows that for interpersonal trust to be built (1) legitimate distrust situations must be taken away through interest alignment arrangements, (2) institutional arrangements must be put in place that stimulate frame resonance, (3) both individuals must regularly perform actions conveying positive relational signals and (4) both individuals involved in a trouble situation must at least act in ways that are not perceived as negative relational signals. A multiple case study strategy was applied covering two organizations. Embedded within the case study strategy, a multi-method approach was used with interviews, observations, a questionnaire survey, documents and verification meetings as instruments for three types of analysis: a quantitative trust and trouble event analysis, a quantitative survey analysis and qualitative analyses.
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam School of Management. Promotores: Prof.dr. B. Nooteboom, Prof.dr. A.M. Sorge. Other members: Prof.dr. D.N. den Hartog, Prof.dr. N.G. Noorderhaven, Dr. C. Lane
- organizational context
- Dutch firms
- Trust building
- professional services firms
- relational signalling theory
- trust and trouble event analysis
- work relations
- trust building