Center for Trust Studies Expands with Additional National Science Foundation Grant

Aug. 19, 2021
Sunset over McClelland Hall

The Center for Trust Studies, brainchild of Oliver Schilke, associate professor of management and organizations in the Eller College of Management, is already expanding after just a year of existence.

In August 2021, the National Science Foundation awarded Schilke a supplemental grant, over and above the $400k Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award he received in 2020, to engage undergraduates across the University of Arizona campus in conducting research with the Center.

Called “Research Experiences for Undergraduates,” this four-year supplement builds on Schilke’s original project, which studies the role of trust in organizations. The project has three major areas of focus: to understand trust accuracy, or the circumstances under which people make accurate trust decisions; trust asymmetries, or situations in which one party places high trust in the other whereas the other party places low trust in return; and trust meta accuracy, or the extent to which people know that they are being trusted. The results of this project will significantly contribute to researchers’ knowledge of how trust evolves in organizational settings.

“Research undertaken by undergraduate students can be instrumental in shaping their future careers,” says Schilke. “The additional NSF award allows Eller and the Center for Trust Studies to provide opportunities of discovery for undergraduates, which deepens their college experience. This type of activity is highly aligned with our mission, and I am grateful to NSF for helping us achieve it.”

Schilke joined the Eller College of Management in 2014 after earning his PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He also had the opportunity to spend two years as a Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Department of Sociology. Schilke’s research interests can be summarized along the following three dimensions: At a theoretical level, he studies microinstitutional processes such as trust, routines and legitimacy. At a substantive level, his research addresses interorganizational relationships, R&D and entrepreneurship. At a methodological level, he utilizes experiments, surveys and large archival data sets.