Conceptualisations of trust in the organisational literature: Some indicators from a complementary perspective

N. A D Connell*, R. Mannion

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper evaluates the non-healthcare organisational literature on conceptualisations of trust. The aim of the paper is to review this diverse literature, and to reflect on the potential insights it might offer healthcare researchers, policy makers and managers. Design/methodology/approach - A number of the key concepts that contribute to contrasting definitions of trust in the organisational literature are identified. Findings - The paper highlights the heterogeneity of trust as an organisational concept. Aspects of trust that relate more specifically to non-healthcare settings are shown to have some potential relevance for healthcare. Five aspects of trust, considered to have particular significance to the changing face of the NHS, appear to offer scope for further exploration in healthcare settings. Practical implications - The NHS continues to face changes to its organisational structures, both planned and unplanned. Healthcare providers will need to be alert to intra- and inter-organisational relationships, of which trust issues will form an inevitable part. Whilst it might be argued that the lessons offered by conceptualisations of trust within wider organisational settings have limitations, the paper demonstrates sufficient areas of overlap to encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas. Originality/value - The paper draws together previous research on a topic of increasing relevance to healthcare researchers, which has exercised management researchers for at least three decades. The paper acts as a guide to future research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-433
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Knowledge sharing
  • Measurement
  • Organizational change
  • Trust
  • Uncertainty management


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