Professor of Entrepreneurship
Research on trust has focused almost exclusively on the benefits that trust can bring to interpersonal and interorganizational relationships. While the benefits of trust cannot be overstated, this optimistic approach has led scholars to neglect the possibility that trust might also have detrimental consequences for individuals and organizations.The authors try to correct this bias by examining the "dark side" of trust from two different, but complementary, perspectives. First, they discuss the risks associated with the misplacement of trust. Second, they discuss the problems associated with excessive trust - that is, situations where high levels of trust prompt undesirable outcomes for the parties involved.They address these phenomena at three different levels of analysis - dyadic, network, and system-wide - and formulate testable propositions that could help set the agenda for investigating the dark side of trust.