Title: The development, distribution and maintenance of trust in distributed work groups: a social network approach

Authors: Tom Erik Julsrud, Per Morten Schiefloe

Addresses: Telenor Research and Innovation, Snaroyveien 30, N-1331 Fornebu, Norway. ' Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway

Abstract: An increasing number of teams and groups have members who are distributed at multiple sites, often working in different departments or organisations, sometimes also in different countries. Although separated in space, such units must collaborate and deliver results and value to their organisations. It is now generally acknowledged that trust is a core asset for such groups, as it can help to reduce conflicts and enhance knowledge sharing and efficiency. This article argues that a network approach can be useful for developing a deeper understanding of trust in such groups. The network approach is particularly useful in providing an understanding of the development, distribution and maintenance of trust across organisational, geographical and cultural boundaries. These aspects are described and illustrated in a case study of a distributed work group in an international telecommunications company.

Keywords: distributed work groups; virtual teams; trust; small groups; social networks; trust networks; knowledge sharing; efficiency; international telecommunications.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2007.015719

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2007 Vol.4 No.4, pp.351 - 368

Published online: 10 Nov 2007 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article