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Chapter Two: The Decision to Trust Model

Chapter Two

The Decision to Trust Model

What is trust? In the most general terms, trusting means feeling comfortable with how a party will act in a situation in which you could be hurt. In terms of one-on-one relationships, it's been described as a willingness to make yourself vulnerable to someone else, based on positive expectations that the other person will either serve your interests or at least not hinder them.1

Drawing on prior research, I define trust as having “confident reliance” in another party whenever an uncertain situation entails some vulnerability or risk.2 This notion of confident reliance allows room for discussing both “relational trust” from an interpersonal perspective as well as “organizational trust” and “system trust” from a more impersonal perspective. Your decision to trust involves your degree of confident reliance in a wide spectrum of possible trustees in your life—a person (your spouse, your colleague), group (your department, your tennis team), organization (your company), institution (the federal government, the Catholic Church), system (air traffic control, the financial system).


  

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