Walking the line: Navigating the space between calculus-based and relational trust in construction supply chains

Zelinna Pablo, Kerry London, Malik Khalfan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Literature suggests that trust can take a number of forms, two notable ones being calculus-based and relational trust. Researchers have also argued that it is important to understand how these forms can be blended in different situations. However, there is limited empirical work that has explored how this blending can be managed in construction settings, where calculus-based forms of trust have often been overemphasized. In these situations, parties often depend excessively on contracts, incentives, and deterrents in ways that are counterproductive, perhaps even leading to distrust. Existing models of trust provide limited guidelines on how to achieve an optimal mix. We use qualitative case studies and actor-network approaches to explore these forms of trust, along with the movements between them, in two settings. Based on our findings, we argue that trust can initially emerge not just as calculus-based but also as dominantly relational and that trajectories of trust reflect complex, non-linear paths between the two pure forms. These findings allow us to enrich existing models that suggest that trust begins as entirely calculus-based and eventually changes to relational forms. We also point to potential areas for future work in terms of exploring the antecedents and outcomes of trust in various forms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the CIB World Building Congress: Hans Wamelink, Bob Giddings, Kihong Ku and Manon Feenstra (ed.), Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland, pp. 536-547
Subtitle of host publicationEnvironmental Opportunities and Challenges; Constructing commitment and acknowledging human experiences
EditorsMatthijs Prins, Hans Wamelink, Bob Giddings, Kihong Ku, Manon Feenstra
Place of PublicationFinland
PublisherTampere University of Technology
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3740-0, 978-952-15-3742-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1797-8904


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