Balancing trust and control in organizations: towards a process perspective

Søren Jagd (Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Publication date: 5 October 2010



The purpose of this paper is to show that conceptualizing trust and control as interactively related processes, as opposed to more static conceptualizations of the two concepts and the relations between them, adds importantly towards understanding the challenges involved in balancing of trust and control in organizations.


The paper examines recent literature on the conceptualization of the relation between trust and control in and between organizations.


The literature review shows that trust and control has been conceptualized as either substituting or complementing each other. Further, it is found that the complementary/substitution debate calls for an explicit conceptualization of the relation between trust and control as an interactive process, in contrast to earlier conceptualizations of trust and control as two relatively static and isolated concepts.

Practical implications

While the static perspective on trust and control made the problem of finding a balance between trust and control a once and for all decision the process perspective introduced here implies that balancing trust and control is an ongoing process of balancing and rebalancing. The implication for management is that the problem of balancing trust and control becomes an issue that deserve ongoing attention.


The paper adds to the discussion on the relation between trust and control by showing that the process perspective reframes the problem of balancing trust and control. More generally, by demonstrating the importance of the process perspective on the trust and control interrelation, the paper calls for the wider use of a process perspective for researching the trust‐control nexus.



Jagd, S. (2010), "Balancing trust and control in organizations: towards a process perspective", Society and Business Review, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 259-269.

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