Explaining the Limited Effectiveness of Legalistic “Remedies” for Trust/Distrust

Journal Article

Organizations frequently adopt formal rules, contracts, or other legalistic mechanisms when interpersonal trust is lacking. But recent research has shown such legalistic “remedies” for trust-related problems to be ineffective in restoring trust. To explain this apparent ineffectiveness, this paper outlines a theory that distinguishes two dimensions of trust—task-specific reliability and value congruence—and shows how legalistic mechanisms respond only to reliability concerns, while ignoring value-related concerns. Organizational responses to employees with HIV/AIDS are used as a case illustration that supports the theory's major propositions. The paper concludes with an agenda for future research.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sitkin, SB; Roth, NL

Published Date

  • August 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 367 - 392

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-5455

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1047-7039

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1287/orsc.4.3.367


  • en