“My Trust Needs To Be Earned, Or I Don’t Give It”

Margaret Rundle, Carrie James, Katie Davis, Jennifer O. Ryan, John M. Francis and Howard Gardner

in Restoring Trust in Organizations and Leaders

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199756087
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949571 | DOI:
“My Trust Needs To Be Earned, Or I Don’t Give It”

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This chapter explores the “mental models” of trust that youth utilize in assessing the trustworthiness of others and the implications of such mental models for the future of democratic life. Findings from in depth, semi structured interviews suggest that many youth rely predominately on an earned-through-performance model of trust when assessing the trustworthiness of others. However, a substantial number of youth favor models based on interactions evidence – particularly earned-through-interactions or evolves-through-interactions models – when assessing the trustworthiness of distant figures such as politicians and others in public life, where such interactions are improbable. The use of interactions evidence to assess trustworthiness is related to a passive withholding trust stance which has troubling implications for youth democratic participation; by disengaging from trustworthiness assessments of political figures, youth may be unmotivated to engage in related civic and political spheres.

Keywords: trust; trustworthiness; democratic participation; civic; political; youth; mental models

Chapter.  9094 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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