The Center for Trust Studies develops and shares various resources, including videos, case studies, and other content related to the study of trust.

Talks on Trust

Definition of Trust

Even though many people may think they have an intuitive understanding of trust, there has been an extensive discussion of how to define it. Nowadays, there a two related trust definitions that most organizational scholars seem to have agreed on:

Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman (1995, p. 712): "the willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor." (Roger Mayer is a CTS Advisory Board Member)

Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt, and Camerer (1998, p. 395): "a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another." (Ron Burt is a CTS Advisory Board Member)

You can read more about different definitions and approaches to trust in an article forthcoming in the Annual Review of Sociology co-authored by CTS Director Oliver Schilke, Affiliated Faculty Martin Reimann, and Advisory Board Member Karen Cook.

Measurement of Trust

Being able to reliably measure levels of trust is important to academia and organizations alike. Bill McEvily and Marco Tortoriello offer a very insightful review of various survey measures of trust, which you can access here.

Teaching Materials on Trust

Trust is a central topic in a variety of classes. Let's share some materials that can help us bring trust to the classroom.

Trust Wheel

Guido Möllering developed the "Trust Wheel" activity on swift trust. It's a scenario exercise that can be performed either alone or in small groups. Below, you can download two slides that introduce the activity and provide some instructions for set-up and discussion, along with an excerpt from Guido's book Trust: Reason, routine, reflexivity, which can be used to prepare for or debrief the exercise.

Webinar on Why Trust Matters

Oliver Schilke held a webinar on the topic of "Why Trust Matters" that was hosted by IvyExec and targeted at an audience of business executives. It contains ideas on (1) why trust is important, (2) what trust is, (3) where trust comes from, and (4) whether it's always a good idea to trust. Below, you can find the 1-hour recording as well as the slide deck.

Saving the Commons Simulation

Desirée Pacheco was so nice as to share the "Saving the Commons Simulation." This is an in-class role-play game that lets students experience the role of collaboration and trust. The simulation is highly useful “to engage students, make a point about the outcomes of markets under poorly defined property rights regimes, and serve as a foundation for discussions throughout courses” (Dean and Pacheco 2017, p. 492). The simulation is designed for 5–8 teams of 2–5 players each, and it takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. You can access the teaching manual below.