This article examines the alleged links between 'partnership' forms of managing workplace relationships in Britain, and the development of intra-organisational 'trust'. The potential for mutually complementary linkages between the two are clear, in theory at least: partnership, as defined here, should produce, nurture and enhance levels of interpersonal trust inside organisations, while in turn trust, as defined here, legitimates and helps reinforce an organisation's 'partnership'. Qualitative evidence drawn from the self-reports of key participants in four partnership organisations provides considerable support for the claimed linkages, while also highlighting several weaknesses, discrepancies and pitfalls inherent in the process of pursuing trust through partnership. This research is of interest from a public policy perspective, most of all in the United Kingdom, where partnership is the favoured organisational model for the New Labour government, most trade unions, and many employers (not to mention the European Union) yet where an agreed definition of the idea has yet to emerge, and where still remarkably little is known about what partnership involves inside organisations. This analysis also seeks to restore the curiously neglected idea of trust to a position of central importance to the study of employment relations.

United Kingdom, case studies, organisational change, social partnership, trust
Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior (jel L2), Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior: Other (jel L29), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Business Administration: General (jel M10)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Copyright 2002, G.R. Dietz, This report in the ERIM Report Series Research in Management is intended as a means to communicate the results of recent research to academic colleagues and other interested parties. All reports are considered as preliminary and subject to possibly major revisions. This applies equally to opinions expressed, theories developed, and data used. Therefore, comments and suggestions are welcome and should be directed to the authors.
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Dietz, G.R. (2002). The Development Of Mutual Trust In British Workplaces Through ?Partnership? (No. ERS-2002-97-ORG). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from