Trusting as a 'Leap of Faith': Trust-Building Practices in Client-Consultant Relationships

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Successful client—consultant relationships depend on trust, but trusting is difficult
in the non-routine, high-stake context of consulting. Based on a sample of 15 clients and 16 consultants in Australia, we develop a grounded model that explains the process of trust granting in the context of client—consultant relationships. Our model builds upon two influential research streams on trust in the literature, the ABI model (Mayer et al., 1995. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 709—734) and Zucker’s (1986. Research in Organizational Behavior, 8, 53—111) generic modes of trust, and combines their insights with a process perspective on trusting as proposed by Möllering (2001. Sociology, 35(2), 403—420). By acknowledging the process nature of trust as a leap of faith resulting from socio-cognitive (-emotional) interactions we move away from the passive evaluation of trustworthiness. Our findings suggest that trusting is
a process that involves three social practices: (1) signaling ability and integrity; (2) demonstrating benevolence; and (3) establishing an emotional connection. Our study contributes to the trust literature on consulting and to trust research more generally by advancing a process approach and emphasizing the social, not merely mental, nature of trusting as involving a leap of faith.
ZeitschriftScandinavian Journal of Management
Seiten (von - bis)232-245
Anzahl der Seiten14
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.06.2015