Practices of Building and Maintaining Trust in Cross-functional Teams

  • This dissertation investigates how cross-functional teams build and maintain trust. Teamwork is challenging and requires trust, a complex process created in the interaction of team members, and embedded in the organizational system. But there is limited research on how cross-functional teams build and maintain trust in practice, and on the meanings and interpretations that team members, managers, and consultants ascribe to trust. Much research explains how team members gather and signal trustworthy information, but not how they interpret this information during team interactions. To address these research gaps, this thesis draws on social practice theory and offers empirical evidence for a practice approach on trust in teams. Team members, managers, and consultants were interviewed and a cross-functional team kick-off was observed to find out how trust as a practice is conceptualized and produced. Qualitative content analysis, metaphor analysis, and interpretive analysis were used to analyze the data. Research findings include several metaphors of trust in cross-functional teams, specific trust-building and maintenance practices, and illustrations of how these practices are produced and reproduced in team interactions. Trust as a social practice thus moves research from the path of demonstrating that trust in teams is important in contexts of high vulnerability and uncertainty, to the path of how trust becomes important in these contexts by meaning and interpretation. Considering these findings, future studies should focus more on the collective patterns of meaningful activities that build and maintain trust, the use of metaphors to study trust in teams, and the nonverbal cues that build and maintain trust.

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Publishing Institution:IRC-Library, Information Resource Center der Jacobs University Bremen
Granting Institution:Jacobs Univ.
Author:Catalina Diana Dumitru
Referee:Margrit Schreier, Hwee Hoon Tan
Advisor:Guido Moellering
Persistent Identifier (URN):urn:nbn:de:gbv:579-opus-1008863
Document Type:PhD Thesis
Date of Successful Oral Defense:2019/04/06
Date of First Publication:2019/08/29
Academic Department:Business & Economics
PhD Degree:Business Administration
Focus Area:Diversity
Other Countries Involved:Singapore
Call No:2019/12

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