A review of experimental research on organizational trust

Oliver Schilke, Andy Powell, Maurice E. Schweitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Trust profoundly shapes organisational, group, and dyadic outcomes. Reflecting its importance, a substantial and growing body of scholarship has investigated the topic of trust. Much of this work has used experiments to identify clear, causal relationships. However, in contrast to theoretical work that conceptualises trust as a multi-faceted (e.g. ability, benevolence, integrity), multi-level (e.g. interpersonal, intergroup), and dynamic construct, experimental scholarship investigating trust has largely investigated benevolence-based trust in dyadic relationships. As a result of the relatively limited set of paradigms experimental scholars have used to investigate trust, many questions related to different forms and types of trust remain un- and under-explored in experimental work. In this review, we take stock of the existing experimental trust scholarship and identify key gaps in our current understanding of trust. We call for future experimental work to investigate ability-based and integrity-based trust, to advance our understanding of the interplay between relationship history and trust, to study trust as a multi-level construct, to focus on the consequences of trust including the hazards of misplaced trust, and to study trust maintenance. To support these lines of inquiry, we introduce an ideal-typical process model to develop or adapt appropriate trust experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-139
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Trust Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • Trust
  • experiments
  • organisations
  • review
  • social exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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