Conflict Resolution Studies Faculty Articles

Title

Conceptualizing Trust: A Holistic Chinese View to Bridge Divergences and Dichotomies

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Publication Title

Chinese Journal of Communication

Keywords

Chinese people, holistic approach, interpersonal trust, phenomenology, Taiwan, trust strategies

ISSN

1754-4769

Volume

7

Issue/No.

2

Abstract

This research study seeks to understand and describe how people in a Chinese society define trust in daily life. Employing a qualitative phenomenological method, data were obtained through in-depth interviews with 14 adult Chinese individuals in northern Taiwan. This research pinpoints prior misconceptions of trust, examines competing approaches to trust that have led to diverse definitions, adopts a holistic Chinese view of trust that bridges prior divergent views, mediates the agency-structure and trust-distrust dichotomies, and focuses on trust strategies applicable to different situations. The findings reveal that trust is a dyadic relationship in which how the trustee demonstrates his or her trustworthiness to gain trust and how the trustor decides to trust are likely to be affected not only by personal choices based on prior knowledge and experiences but also the external social and cultural norms of the society. The findings advance the existing knowledge of trust conceptualization and extend its applicability to broader Chinese societies. They have implications for strategies for relationship and trust-building for Westerners as they engage in global socio-economic discourse with Chinese.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-2879-0273, 0000-0003-3839-7042, 0000-0002-4520-0511

DOI

10.1080/17544750.2014.905868

Peer Reviewed

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