Trust: Reason, Routine, Reflexivity

Guido Möllering

6. April 2006

MPIfG Book


Oxford: Elsevier, 2006
230 pages
ISBN 0-08-044855-0

"Trust: Reason, Routine, Reflexivity offers the reader a well-written, comprehensive summary of the current state of trust research." (Sabine Koeszegi)

» Publisher's page
Möllering, Guido
Trust: Reason, Routine, Reflexivity. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2006.


What makes trust such a powerful concept? In this book, Guido Möllering reviews a broad range of trust research and extracts three main perspectives adopted in the literature for understanding trust. Accordingly, trust is presented as a matter of reason, routine or reflexivity. Möllering argues that these perspectives imply, but cannot explain, 'suspension' - the leap of faith that is typical of trust. He therefore proposes a new orientation in trust research that places this essential element at the heart of the concept of trust. Beyond a purely theoretical line of argument, the author discusses implications for empirical studies and presents original case material. He shows how trust research can contribute to broader research agendas concerning the constitution of positive expectations in the face of prevalent uncertainty and change at various levels in our economies and societies.
The book is essential reading for anyone who wants to gain a thorough understanding of trust. It can serve as a general introduction for advanced students and scholars in the social sciences, especially in economics, sociology, psychology and management. For more experienced researchers, it is a challenging and provocative critique of the field and a new approach to understanding trust.


Chapter 1   Allured by Trust?
Chapter 2   Trust and Reason
Chapter 3   Trust and Routine
Chapter 4   Trust and Reflexivity
Chapter 5   The Leap of Faith
Chapter 6   Studying Trust
Chapter 7   Experiencing Trust
Chapter 8 Positive Expectations


Guido Möllering

Guido Möllering is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. He holds a PhD in Management Studies from the University of Cambridge, UK. His research is generally in the area of interorganizational relationships and the constitution of markets with specific interests in trust and collective institutional entrepreneurship.


"Guido Möllering has rapidly become a leading expert on the subject of trust and this important book shows why. It combines a very thorough review of the different perspectives contained in previous writings with an original analysis of the 'leap of faith' that trust requires. It also offers original supporting empirical material. This makes it a 'must read' for anyone who is concerned with the theoretical or practical significance of trust in everyday life."
John Child, University of Birmingham
"Trust: Reason, Routine, Reflexivity offers the reader a well-written, comprehensive summary of the current state of trust research."
Sabine Koeszegi, University of Vienna, in: Economic Sociology - The European Electronic Newsletter 8(3), 2007, 48-51.
"This book is thought provoking, well written and has considerable depth to its citation and cross-referencing. ... This book, although slim - some 200 pages of tightly argued discussion - is very important. ... I would recommend strongly this book."
John B. Kidd, Aston University, in: Knowledge Management Research & Practice 4(3).
"Guido Möllering has given us an important book, raising crucial issues of the suspension of doubt and process phenomena of trust that merit more attention. ... I recommend the book to all scholars interested in what happens in trust beyond rational calculation."
Bart Nooteboom, Tilburg University, in: Organization Studies 27(12).
"Das Buch füllt eine Lücke aus, die in der zunehmend spezialisierten Forschungslandschaft entstanden ist. ... Förderlich ist vor allem der neu gewonnene Blick auf die Ganzheit des Phänomens Vertrauen."
Dirko Thomsen, AutoUni Volkswagen, Wolfsburg, in: Personalführung 11/2006.
"Guido Möllerings Buch ist eine gelungene Systematisierung sowie eine provokative Einladung zum Weiterdenken. Dass dies nicht zuletzt sprachlich so angenehm und trotzdem eloquent geschieht, macht das Buch zu einer empfehlenswerten Lektüre."
Hannes Krämer, in: Interculture Journal 6(5), 2007.
"Moellering brings a wealth of insight from German Social Theory tradition to issues that, from both a practitioner and a researcher perspective, are at the core of effective HRM."
(p. 481) Wes Harry and Keith Jackson, City University London, "Globalisation, the Wave, and the Undertow," in: management revue 18(4), 2008, 472-482.
"Möllering successfully integrates material from a wide range of sources into a coherently presented argument."
Alex Wright, University of Wolverhampton, in: Personnel Review 37(3), 2008, 350-352.

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