How Multi-Entity Teams Build Trust despite High Risk
This chapter explicates the challenge of risky trust, which refers to inter-personal and/or inter-organizational trust that exists between parties vulnerable to high economic, legal or reputational risks. Drawing from analyses of data collected in a grounded case study of a multi-million dollar construction project, the authors propose a model that describes how teams engaged in high-risk endeavors build trust, despite a context and history of pervasive mistrust. The proposed model identifies three dimensions of risky trust, pertaining to people’s intentions and competence and to team process. The chapter also describes antecedents of risky trust, including leaders’ framing, team member interactional expertise, procedural transparency, and impartiality. Lastly, the model suggests that risky trust fosters monitoring and learning behaviors that improve work performance. Undertaken in the United States construction industry, a context known for its lack of trust, this study offers insights for trust repair.
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