Trust

Trust is a central ingredient in human relationships, and thus, in organizational dynamics. At its root, trust is interpersonal; it exists in some state between two people. Within a group, interpersonal connections multiply exponentially. Even within small groups—whether families, teams, or small organizations—these connections become multifold, complex, and interdependent. Within symphony organizations, the quality of a wide range of interpersonal relationships—especially between and among formal leaders and their close colleagues—depends significantly on the degree of trust that exists in these relationships. The aggregate status of “organizational trust,” in turn, strongly influences the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the institution. … Conditional trust is a state of trust in which both parties are willing to transact with each other, as long as each behaves appropriately, uses a similar interpretive scheme to define the situation, and can take the role of the other. In conditional trust, attitudes of one party toward the other are favorable enough to support future interactions; sufficient positive affect and a relative lack of negative affect reinforce these attitudes. Unconditional trust . . . characterizes an experience of trust that starts when individuals abandon the “pretense” of suspending belief, because shared values now structure the social situation and become the primary vehicle through which those individuals experience trust. With unconditional trust each party’s trustworthiness is now assured, based on confidence in the other’s values that is backed up by empirical evidence derived from repeated behavioral interactions—knowledge of which is contained in each individual’s attitude toward the other . . . when unconditional trust is present, relationships become significant and often involve a sense of mutual identification. (06/04/05)
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