Multiple Meanings of Trust in Negotiation Theory and Research:  A Literature Review and Integrative Model

by William Ross and Jessica LaCroix

The International Journal of Conflict Managment, 7, (4), 314-360.

The present paper reviews the research literature on trust in bargaining and mediation.  Several models of trust within the bargaining process are also described.  It is concluded that trust means different things, depending upon the relationship under investigation.  Trust among negotiators can refer to a personality trait (how trusting a negotiator generally is of others) or to a temporary state.  Withn the temporary state  perspective, trust often refers to one of three orientations:  (1) cooperative motivational orientation (MO), (2) patterns of predictable behavior, (3) a problem-solving orientation.  Trust between a negotiator and constituents usually refers to a cooperative MO (i.e., shared loyalty) between these two groups.  The addition of a mediator can impact both the opposing negotiators' relationship and each negotiator-constituent relationship; the mediator also has direct and indirect relationships with the parties and their constituents.  Future directions for research on trust are identified.