Relational Trust

What is it that makes us trust one another?

Relational Trust is a theory that was developed by two researchers, Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider, who were studying what made elementary schools work. They identified four considerations that teachers, parents, administrators, and community leaders, make when figuring out if they can trust one another. 

  • Respect: Relational trust is built through respectful interactions in which people feel valued and listened to.
  • Personal Regard: Relational trust increases when people go beyond what is required, making an extra effort.
  • Competence in Core Responsibilities: Trust increases when people demonstrate competence in their job or role.
  • Personal Integrity: Relational trust requires that people do what they say they are going to do.

Bryk and Snyder compare relational trust with two other kinds of trust. Organic trust is the kind of trust that exists between members of the same church, who share deeply held beliefs and values. Contractual trust is the kind of trust that comes from having a limited, clearly defined agreement in which people can be punished for breaking it.

When people of different backgrounds come together to collaborate over time, they need to build relational trust.

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Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

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