Working trust into the institutional context: Struggling over organisational trust in UK book publishing

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The idea that trust is influenced by, and influences, its context is often taken for granted. However, the nature of these influences has remained strongly underresearched. The present study focuses on the latter of these: "How might trust affect the context in which it occurs? How can trust be institutionalized to the extent that it becomes part of the context?" (see the Call for Papers for this sub-theme). Previous papers have outlined in a largely conceptual fashion how trust can be institutionalised at the organisational level, and can thus become part of both the organisat- ional context and, more broadly, that of the organisational field or industry. The present paper goes beyond these earlier insights, based on an empirical study of UK book publishing. Due to the specificities of this context (in particular, the creative nature of its product), trust in this industry has traditionally remained purely interpersonal in nature. While some individual actors work towards preserving this state of affairs, the resulting dangers for publishing organisations have increasingly led them to strive to institutionalise trust relations on the organisational or team level and transform them, at least partially, into organisational trust. These dynamics are analysed on the basis of institutionalisation theory and the theory of institutional work (Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006). Our results have implications for the latter, but above all they show how actors actively and purposively influence what aspects or forms of trust can become part of the context they operate in, by struggling over the institutionalisation, de-institutionalisation, or re-institutionalisation of trust.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
Event30th EGOS Colloquium: Reimagining, Rethinking, Reshaping - Organizational Scholarship in Unsettled Times - Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 3 Jul 20145 Jul 2014
Conference number: 30


Conference30th EGOS Colloquium
Abbreviated titleEGOS
Internet address


  • Trust
  • institutional theory
  • Institutional work
  • Publishing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Working trust into the institutional context: Struggling over organisational trust in UK book publishing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this