Genuine, non-calculative trust with calculative antecedents: Reconsidering Williamson on trust

Journal of Trust Research 4 (1):44-56 (2014)


This short paper defends Oliver Williamson’s (1993) claim that talk of trust is ‘redundant at best and can be misleading’ when trust is defined as a form of calculated risk (p. 463). And this paper accepts Williamson’s claim that ‘Calculative trust is a contradiction in terms’ (p. 463). But the present paper defends a conception of genuine, non-calculative trust that is compatible with calculative considerations and calculative antecedents. This conception of trust creates space for genuine (non-calculative) trust relationships in the economic order—in which calculative considerations and antecedents (most often) play an essential role.

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Marc A. Cohen
Seattle University

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