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Journal Article

The Trust/Control Duality: An Integrative Perspective on Positive Expectations of Others


Möllering,  Guido
Soziologie des Marktes, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;
Institute of Business Administration, Free University of Berlin, Germany;

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Möllering, G. (2005). The Trust/Control Duality: An Integrative Perspective on Positive Expectations of Others. International Sociology, 20(3), 283-306. doi:10.1177/0268580905055478.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-4E11-4
The article offers a fresh perspective on the relationship
between trust and control by conceptualizing the two
concepts as a trust/control duality instead of a dualism. This entails that trust and control each assume the existence of the other, refer to each other and create each other, but remain irreducible to each other. The duality perspective assumes that the basic underlying problem is how actors reach positive expectations of the behaviour of other actors by whom they may be positively or negatively affected. On the basis of an assumption of embedded agency, the duality perspective on trust/control holds that actors form positive expectations of others by interpreting complex interactions between structural influences on actors and the possibility of either benevolent or malevolent action. As certainty cannot be reached, positive expectations also require suspension.
The duality perspective is illustrated and applied
throughout the article by reference to the empirical case of a publisher who wrote a diary on the process of negotiating a book deal with a prominent author-politician. Implications of the proposed trust/control perspective are presented, discussing the pitfalls of ignoring or adopting it as well as the opportunities leading from embracing it.