A Balance Theory Approach to Trust Repair in Groups

24 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2009 Last revised: 16 Nov 2009

See all articles by Susan Brodt

Susan Brodt

Smith School of Business

Faye Ling

Smith School of Business

Date Written: June 15, 2009

Abstract

This paper examines interpersonal trust, trust violation, and repair in the context of workgroups, drawing on balance theory (Heider, 1958). We offer three unique insights. First, in analyzing dyadic processes, we incorporate connections between the dyad and others in the group; this change of focus reveals new questions about the repair process, such as questions about the role of fellow group members in facilitating or hindering trust repair. Second, we focus on tensions within a group that arise from trust violations between two group members, assuming that trust violations necessarily affect others in the group, not just the two involved in the violation. Finally, we assume that imbalanced states are both aversive and unstable, and that the system (group) seeks balance. Thus, at the heart of our approach to trust repair in groups is the assumption that groups serve to create and maintain interpersonal trust. In addition to developing these ideas, we offer a set of propositions to guide research.

Suggested Citation

Brodt, Susan and Ling, Faye, A Balance Theory Approach to Trust Repair in Groups (June 15, 2009). 22nd Annual IACM Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1484783 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1484783

Susan Brodt (Contact Author)

Smith School of Business ( email )

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada
613-533-3231 (Phone)
613-533-6847 (Fax)

Faye Ling

Smith School of Business ( email )

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

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