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  • Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education The Trust Paradox An Inquiry into the Core of Social Life May-Britt Ellingsen A dissertation for the degree of Doctor Philosophiae May 2014

  • THE TRUST PARADOX An inquiry into the core of social life

    May-Britt Ellingsen

    A dissertation for the degree of Doctor Philosophiae

    UNIVERSITETET I TROMS THE ARCTIC UNIVERSITY OF NORWAY

    Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education

    Troms, May 2014

  • ContentPreface ........................................................................................................................................ 1

    1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 3

    1.1 Background: erosion of trust? ................................................................................... 3

    1.2 Method: a theoretical exploration of empirical grounding ....................................... 4

    1.3 Focus and aims .......................................................................................................... 7

    1.4 Social construction of trust: the development of mutual understanding ................... 8

    1.5 Three social bases for trust ....................................................................................... 9

    1.6 The trust paradox .................................................................................................... 13

    1.7 Reconfiguration of trust .......................................................................................... 16

    1.8 Contribution and structure of the thesis .................................................................. 18

    PART I LITERATURE REVIEW AND METHODOLOGY..23

    2. Conceptual diversity in the trust literature ...................................................................... 23

    2.1 Trust and process perspectives ................................................................................ 24

    2.2 A multitude of perspectives on trust ....................................................................... 26

    2.3 Trust from a sociological perspective ..................................................................... 27

    2.4 Trust - individual cognition and social construction ............................................... 29

    2.5 Relational forms of trust ......................................................................................... 31

    2.6 Conclusion definition and further development .................................................. 39

    3. Grounded theory: Methodological roots .......................................................................... 42

    3.1 The empirical work and fit of concepts .................................................................. 42

    3.2 Grounded theory two intellectual traditions in one method ................................. 44

    3.3 Three methods in one? ............................................................................................ 45

    3.4 Intellectual roots in positivism and pragmatism ..................................................... 47

    3.5 Classic, Glaserian grounded theory ........................................................................ 49

    3.6 Positivism and constructivism in grounded theory ................................................. 51

    3.7 Conclusion: grounded theory and development of cumulative knowledge ............ 53

    4. Sociological inspiration: A look into the black box ........................................................ 55

    4.1 Positioning or preconceptions ................................................................................. 55

    4.2 Constructing trust .................................................................................................... 57

    4.3 A trust producing system ........................................................................................ 60

    4.5 Mutual understanding and common codes ............................................................. 62

    4.5 An empirical example: the economic man as system code .................................. 64

    4.6 Conclusion: towards a cumulative development of knowledge ............................. 67

  • 5. From substantive to sociologically grounded theory ....................................................... 69

    5.1 Substantive grounded theory main procedural steps ........................................... 70

    5.2 Empirical insight - a basis for theory generation .................................................... 73

    5.3 Coding and categories ............................................................................................. 75

    5.4 Thinking conceptually ............................................................................................ 76

    5.5 Coding and theory generation - an empirical example ........................................... 78

    5.6 Theoretical codes and sociological sense-making .................................................. 80

    5.7 Literature studies and preconceptions ..................................................................... 82

    5.8 Towards a formal grounded theory and the trust paradox ...................................... 83

    5.9 Generation of formal grounded theory a door into sociology .............................. 85

    5.10 Basic social processes and macro analyses in grounded theory ............................. 88

    5.11 Rejection of existing theory ................................................................................... 90

    5.12 Integration of existing theory - a process with four positions ............................... 91

    5.13 Conclusion: A formal grounded theory of trust? ................................................... 95

    5.14 Contributions and further research ......................................................................... 97

    PART II THEORY AND INTEGRATION. ...101

    6. Trust mutual understanding and dynamic social construction ................................... 101

    6.1 The social construction of trust ............................................................................. 102

    6.2 Trust and expectations .......................................................................................... 103

    6.3 Reduction of social risk and complexity the function of trust ........................... 105

    6.4 Mutual understanding a shared promise ............................................................ 108

    6.5 Mutual understanding a tacit agreement ............................................................ 113

    6.6 Development of mutual understanding ................................................................. 116

    6.7 Mutual understanding and social scripts ............................................................... 119

    6.8 Conclusion: mutual understanding - a key to the social construction of trust ...... 122

    7. Pre-contractual trust ....................................................................................................... 125

    7.1 Pre-contractual trust a taken for granted common social basis .......................... 125

    7.2 Pre-contractual trust and institutions .................................................................... 130

    7.3 Social order and pre-contractual trust ................................................................... 133

    7.4 Pre-contractual trust and culture ........................................................................... 135

    7.5 Pre-contractual trust and change a state challenged by events .......................... 137

    7.6 Pre-contractual trust a dynamic social quality ................................................... 139

    7.7 Conclusion: reconstruction of pre-contractual trust the well of trust? ............... 141

    8. Pre-contractual trust and social change ......................................................................... 143

  • 8.1 Familiarity an individual and structural frame of reference .............................. 144

    8.2 Familiarity a pre-contractual key to social change and trust ............................. 148

    8.3 Confidence a question of power and fiduciary obligations ............................... 151

    8.4 Confidence and the power to choose exit ............................................................. 154

    8.5 Pre-contractual trust conclusions and further questions .................................... 158

    9. Relational trust ............................................................................................................... 161

    9.1 Relational trust and familiarity ............................................................................. 162

    9.2 Three bases for relational trust .............................................................................. 164

    9.3 Mediated familiarity an expanding social basis ................................................. 166

    9.4 Ascribed familiarity a diminishing quality? ...................................................... 168

    9.5 Relational trust and expectations a model of expectations ................................ 174

    9.6 A model of expectations ....................................................................................... 175

    9.7 Additional examples of the expectation model ..................................................... 180

    9.8 Conclusion: Relational trust and social change .................................................... 183

    10. Structural trust .........

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