In recent years, trust has become one of the most fashionable topics in the social sciences, and public administration is no exception. As is quite often the case for popular topics, the word “trust” is no longer only used in its original meaning as “a bet on the future contingent actions of others” (Sztompka, 1999), but is used in a broad range of meanings and contexts. In public administration research, two major streams of research can be distinguished. One focuses on the extra-organizational dimension and emphasizes attitudes of actors outside the administration toward this administration. Typically, this research studies citizen attitudes toward the public administration and government. The second stream of research focuses on the internal dimension of public and private organizations. The tension between trust and contracts in steering relations is a central topic here (Kramer & Tyler, 1996), as is the broad range of relationships between administrators, managers, frontline staff, politicians, contractors etc.

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Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Bouckaert, G, Laegreid, P, & Van de Walle, S.G.J. (2005). Trust quality measurement models, and value chain monitoring: symposium introduction. Retrieved from