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{Excerpt}’s first definition of trust is “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.” The website prompts also that it is “the obligation or responsibility imposed on a person in whom confidence or authority is placed: a position of trust.” Both definitions imply that trust is a relationship of reliance: indeed, a relationship without trust is no relationship at all.

Trust is therefore both an emotional and a rational (cognitive, calculative, and rational) act. The emotions associated with it include affection, gratitude, security, confidence, acceptance, interest, admiration, respect, liking, appreciation, contentment, and satisfaction, all of them necessary ingredients of psychological health. The logic of it is grounded inassessments of a party’s dependability, which play a significant role in decisions to trust. As expected, there are different intensities to trust, depending on why one grants trust and why it is accepted: knowing the different types of trust informs decision making at each level.

Strangely, however, despite instinctive recognition of the importance of trust in human affairs, its conceptualization in the workplace remains limited in literature—but grew in the 1990s, while actions to foster it in that environment are still not readily discernible in practice.


Suggested Citation

Serrat, O. (2010). Building trust in the workplace. Washington, DC: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (