Trust: What is it and why do we need it?

Paul R. Ward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Cultural and social shifts have meant that trust, and trustworthiness, have taken on an increased level of importance within social relationships, and thus for the social fabric of society. Within this chapter, I make the distinction between the need for trust and the basis of trust. We have an in-built need for trust – we need trust to fulfil our roles/functions in life that we cannot do ourselves and we need it for emotional engagement and cooperation. However, trust is placed in something which has not yet happened, something that we do not have enough information about, and therefore something which is risky and contingent on others. Trust is an emotional commitment, based on judgement that can be misplaced. I use a number of ‘real world’ examples from my personal life in addition to examples from my research to explore trust as an everyday emotion. I argue that social relationships, based on cooperation, need to be built on meaningful, reciprocal and honest engagement in a trustworthy fashion in order to build and maintain trust and the concomitant positive emotions related to trust.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotions, Everyday Life and Sociology
EditorsMichael Hviid Jacobsen
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315207728 , 9781351801515
ISBN (Print)978-1138633339
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2018


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