• "Trusting behavior may be motivated primarily by strong positive affect for the object of trust or by 'good rational reasons' why the object of trust merits trust, or, more usually, some combination of both. Trust in everyday life is a mix of feeling and rational thinking" (emphasis added) (Lewis and Weigert, 1985: 972). Recently, much attention has been devoted to the important role that trust may play in the management of organizations. From a theoretical perspective, scholars have considered a wide range of topics such as the distinction between trust and distrust (Lewicki et al., 1998), the initial development and evolution of trust within organizations (Jones and George, 1998; Mayer et al., 1995) and the betrayal of trust (Elangovan and Shapiro, 1998). Empirically, researchers have examined how trust impacts organizations at the individual (McAllister, 1995), group (Korsgaard et al., 1995) and organizational levels (Davis et al., 2000). Despite increasing interest in the effects of trust on organizations, trust remains a seemingly elusive construct to measure in empirical studies. Consistent with Lewis and Weigert (1985), we argue that trust evolves from a pattern of careful, rational thinking (cognitive-based), coupled with an examination of one's feelings, instincts and intuition (affect-based). Simply put, "trust in everyday life is a mix of feeling and rational thinking" (Lewis and Weigert, 1985: 972). This suggests that trust develops from a process of thinking and feeling, on the part of the trustor. Thus, in order to gain a better understanding of trust, this study explores its antecedents, which we contend consist, at least in part, of the thinking and feeling processes that operate within the trustor regarding the trustee. We begin by discussing the role that trust plays in cooperative organizations and by developing the general trust construct. In doing this, we also discuss the importance of specifying the appropriate level of analysis that one is applying when conducting interorganizational trust research. Next, we develop hypotheses to test our proposed relationships between general trust and an individual's cognitive processes and affective responses. We also hypothesize about the relationship between general trust and perceptions of performance and describe the research methodology we used to test these hypotheses. We conclude by discussing our results in terms of their limitations, future research possibilities and managerial implications. TRUST WITHIN COOPERATIVE ORGANIZATIONS While much of the strategic management literature focuses on competition among firms, increasingly managers are realizing that sources of competitive advantage may be found by cooperating with other firms (Hitt et al., 2001). These cooperative organizations may be defined as an arrangement among organizations (with or without equity) whereby resources and capabilities are combined to pursue mutual interests. Cooperative organizations vary in scope and structure. For example, a cooperative organization may consist simply of a "loosely" organized and governed relationship based on informal oral agreements to provide inputs or purchase outputs. Other cooperatives may be more formal and consist of a written agreement among firms to provide resources to the organization that are collectively organized by managers who are selected by the members of the cooperative. This type of cooperative is common in the agricultural industry and exists primarily in the form of marketing and supply cooperatives. Members of these cooperatives agree to pool their resources (inputs for supply co-ops; outputs for marketing co-ops) in anticipation of gaining cost or revenue advantages. The role of trust in organizations has received increased theoretical attention from management scholars and economists in recent years (Williams, 2001; Wilson, 2000). Empirically, trust has been found to reduce transaction costs by avoiding costly negotiations and contracting (Dyer, 1997; Sako, 1992). … ()
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  • Pittsburg State University - Department of Economics ()
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  • The Cognitive and Affective Antecedents of General Trust within Cooperative Organizations ()
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