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Table 3 Findings for conceptualisation of trust

From: Conceptualising, operationalising, and measuring trust in participatory health research networks: a scoping review

Conceptualisation: how does the study define trust?
Themes and sub-themes Description References
Theme C1 Context specific This theme describes trust as a concept that is affected by the given context. The context varies depending on the traits that exist within an individual as a kind of precondition to trust, as well as the context surrounding an individual, such as individuals in their network.
ST C1.1 Within individuals This sub-theme describes how individuals within a context, and thus the traits that exist within the individual, define trust. Specifically, trust can be dependent on the individual’s personality and experiences which can impact their disposition to trust. For example, trust can be influenced by their past experiences with trust (or mistrust) in others (i.e. groups, individuals, and organisations). “First, initial trust depends on personality; people simply differ in their general disposition to trust/distrust.” [32]
“If no other situational information is available, one will rely on one’s general belief that nonspecific individuals can be trusted” [32]
ST C1.2 Surrounding individuals This sub-theme describes how the context surrounding an individual can influence trust. For instance, the norms, values, setting, institutional barriers, and level of support from others surrounding the individual in a given environment can influence trust. “Trust (40 out of 95 items) is defined as the degree to which core group members from the health organization(s) and academic institution(s) feel that the partnership provides a supportive environment”,] [43]
“According to members of community-academic partnerships trust is having an emotionally safe and respectful environment” [55]
“trust must be understood from the perspective of all parties and within its context” [44]
Theme C2 Relational This theme focuses on the notion that trust plays an important role in relationships and thus is generally referred to as an interpersonal concept. Specifically, trust is a fluid concept from a relational perspective, involving a variety of features that require and depend on another individual (ie., trustor to trustee).
ST C2.1 Trustworthiness This sub-theme describes the need for an actor (trustee) to be perceived as trustworthy and thus display characteristics of trustworthiness that are valued by another actor (trustor) in order to establish trust. It is discussed as a precursor to trust. “As trustworthiness is strongly related to trust, it is a characteristic that researchers can develop to build trust within their partnership. Doing so requires understanding what the trustor (here, the community partner) cares about and considers valuable, and acting in a way that meets their expectations for the researcher’s motivation, process and outcome.” [47]
“In addition to having a direct impact on trust, the perceived trustworthiness of the trustee also acts as a mediator between trust and several other factors included in our model.” [39]
ST C2.2 Vulnerability This sub-theme speaks to the willingness of an actor (trustor) to be vulnerable to the actions of another actor (trustee). The trustor does not have complete control over how the trustee will behave and is thus, uncertain about how the individual will act, which also implies that there is something of importance to be lost, and in turn, risk involved. Therefore, in order to be vulnerable, there must be an opportunity for risk where the trustor must then decide if they are willing to take the risk of placing trust in the trustee. Furthermore, if there is the possibility of risk, this implies that there will be some level of uncertainty regarding how the trustee will behave. It is noted that if there is trust between partners, there is a lower level of uncertainty between how the trustee will behave. In summary, for this sub-theme we consider uncertainty and risk as necessary aspects of vulnerability. “Moreover, trust entails being ‘vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control the other party’” [34]
“Captured within these definitions of the trust relationship is the notion that having trust implies accepting a measure of exposure to risk.” [35]
“that trust and mutual benefit allow both parties to share the risks that come from the uncertainty of unexpected occurrences that affect them both” [40]
ST C2.3 Integrity This sub-theme concerns the extent to which the trustor thinks that the trustee will act in their best interest and the belief that the trustee will follow a set of principles, deemed acceptable by the trustor, such as they will say what is true. “Seen as a relational phenomenon, trust describes taking another person’s ‘perspective into account when decision-making and not act[ing] in ways that violate the moral standard of the relationship’ [56]” [34]
“trust was established through consistently fulfilling promises, attitudes of humility and caring” [48]
ST C2.4 Reliability This sub-theme describes the confidence in and extent to which the trustor believes the trustee's will follow-through on commitments, perform a given task, and/or make decisions about something. “Trust (the extent to which an organization was judged by other HIPMC members as being reliable in following through on commitments...)” [37]
ST C2.5 Ability This sub-theme describes an individual’s (trustee) ability to perform a given task or make decisions about something based on their perceived skill set and competence from the perspective of another individual (trustor). “Ability of the trustee, which refers to the skills and competencies of the trustee in a specific domain” [39]
ST C2.6 Strength and quality of relationship This sub-theme explored the strength of a relationship with another individual and the quality of this relationship. For example, an acquaintance or a friend can describe a difference in the level and quality of the relationship. “Trust often accompanies friendship and kinship, two of the core relations in every society. Trust sometimes accompanies working relations such as mentorship, advisory relations, or partnership. In many societies, trust accompanies multi-step relationships, such as friend-of-relative or mentor-of-friend. Whether affect-based trust, cognition-based trust” [54],
ST C2.7 Shared values, vision, and goals This sub-theme highlights the need to have shared visions, values and goals in partnerships. Specifically, common goals, missions, and plans can promote trust. “Trust comes in many forms, including based on a feeling of connectedness or shared values (affinitive)” [34]
“Trust increases through the sharing of common goals” [48]
ST C2.8 Power sharing + co-ownership This sub-theme explores sharing power, and fostering co-ownership in partnerships as a dimension of trust. “Trust has four specific dimensions: (a) Supportive Environment; (b) Developing a Common Understanding; (c) Shared Power; and (d) Strategic Alignment of Group with Organization. Collective learning has five specific dimensions: (a) New Knowledge; (b)New Attitudes; (c)New Practices; (d) Problem Solving; and (e) Personal Concerns [43].
Theme C3 Complex concept This theme emphasises some general features of trust identified across the literaure. Trust is discussed as a complex concept that is multidimensional, varying in conceptualisation across disciplines, and includes multiple types of trust.
ST C3.1 Multiplicities of trust The concept of trust has been defined as a variety of types depending on the strength and level of trust that exists between individuals, or whether the trust has been earned. Other trust types concern generalised trust; trust about people in general, or particularised trust; trusting a specific individual or group. “generalized trust describes basic trust toward unspecified others in a society.” [50]
“The trust typology was created as an alternative measure for understanding the process of trust development in CBPR partnerships [55]. This typology represents a developmental model, though not necessarily anchored at opposite poles.” [44]
ST C3.2 Multidimensions of trust The lack of consensus surrounding a definition of trust speaks to its complexity as a concept. Specifically, it is not only a psychological phenomenon, and it can vary for each individual, across different social interactions, and across disciplines. “Trust is an incredibly complex concept with many definitions and uses across several disciplines” [31]
“Trust can be understood as a multidimensional” [52]
Theme C4 Features of social network analysis This theme explores definitions of trust where it is defined in terms of its social network analysis properties.
ST C4.1 Reciprocal trust This sub-theme describes the presence of trust based on the notion that they think the trustee also trusts them back. Thus, if a trustor thinks that the trustee also trusts them, trust is thought (by the trustor) to be reciprocated (by the trustee). In this study, we address trust at an individual (personal) level that refers, “to the extent to which individuals trust each other within the workplace (reciprocal trust).” [41]
ST C4.2 Asymmetry This sub-theme describes trust as a concept where there is a “one-way” directional relationship between two individuals in a network. So individual “A” may have a relationship with individual “B”, but not B with A (or in the same capacity). “In a dyadic trust relationship, most of the time, the trust relationship contains an asymmetry. Because of this asymmetry between the partners, one actor may take risks in trust relationships. This risk is a prerequisite of trust and it only exists in the context of decision and action.” [41]
  1. Legend: ST sub-theme, C(#) conceptualisation of trust