Why do People Trust?

Moving toward a more comprehensive consideration of the antecedents of trust

Authored by: Michael D. Baer , Jason A. Colquitt

The Routledge Companion to Trust

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138817593
eBook ISBN: 9781315745572
Adobe ISBN:


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Why do people trust? Considering the substantial literature on trust, one might initially expect that a single chapter would be unable to adequately review the answers to this question. On closer inspection, however, the answers provided by the literature comprise a very narrow set of answers. Indeed, narrative and meta-analytic reviews of trust have observed that empirical research has been almost entirely limited to exploring just two broad answers to this question – because people have trusting dispositions and because others are trustworthy (Colquitt, Scott, & LePine, 2007; Dirks & Ferrin, 2002; Möllering, 2006). In other words, the literature has reached a consensus that people trust as a result of their dispositional tendencies to rely on the words and deeds of others, and because others demonstrate, in a variety of ways, that they can be relied upon (Mayer, Davis, & Schoorman, 1995).

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