Emergent Trust and Work Life Relationships: How to Approach the Relational Moment of Trust


  • Tone Bergljot Eikeland University of Bergen




Learning & compentencies, Work/life balance, Identity, meaning & culture, Organization & management


How do we trust? What does the basic mechanism of trust look like? These questions define the starting point for a comparison of the classic ideas of how trust works by Mayer et al. (1995), Möllering’s (2006) re-adaption of Giddens’, Simmel’s, and James’ classic ideas of trust, and a phenomenological approach focusing on “emergent trust.” Introducing the concept of emergent trust, the idea is to suggest a phenomenological approach to studies of trust in work-life relationships in professional organizations, as an alternative to trust as a cognitive attitude, where trust becomes a stable, individual possession. The term “emergent” demonstrates a trust that emerges in meetings between persons, it has an immediate, unconditional quality, and shows itself in situations of life where there is a potential for trust to appear. Trust’s basic relationality makes the person morally responsible for the other. Trust appears between persons, as an event, constituting risk and uncertainty as a natural and positive part of our lives. Still, in larger social settings, the responsibility of trust also disperses on to the work itself, and our wider social networks.

Author Biography

Tone Bergljot Eikeland, University of Bergen

PhD student. email: tone.eikeland@gmail.com




How to Cite

Eikeland, T. B. (2015). Emergent Trust and Work Life Relationships: How to Approach the Relational Moment of Trust. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 5(3), 59–77. https://doi.org/10.19154/njwls.v5i3.4807