In whom we trust? A framework for understanding the moral agency in organizational trust

Marzieh Saghafian, Masoud Shadnam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Among the wide variety of morally charged concepts, trust has probably received the most scholarly attention in organization studies of the recent decades. The most recent development in this growing literature focuses on the role of the agency of involved actors in processes of trust creation, maintenance, and repair. This paper aims to contribute to this conversation through examining the role of the trustee’s moral agency. Drawing on the Emirbayer and Mische’s (1998) temporal framework of agency, we discuss how each temporal dimension of agency – iterative, projective, and practical-evaluative – forms a different basis for trusting an organization. We also formulate a number of propositions to specify the circumstances under which each dimension of moral agency becomes salient in generating perceptions of trustworthiness. We conclude by discussing how the primary basis of trust-based decision making may change as a function of contextual factors such as the history of the relationship, the degree of stability of the environment, and the balance of power between the trustor and the trustee.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology of Morality
Subtitle of host publicationNew Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781634842020
ISBN (Print)9781634842013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)


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