Unpacking the Duality of Control and Trust in Inter-Organizational Relationships through Action-Reaction Cycles
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionJournal of Management Studies. 2022, 1-34. 10.1111/joms.12864
To ensure cooperation, parties in inter-organizational relationships (IORs) draw upon both control and trust. Yet, how control–trust dynamics change as IORs evolve remains unclear. This study illuminates the interplay between control–trust dynamics and IOR dynamics by unpacking how control and trust refer to and create one another through action–reaction cycles. We find that conflicting enactments of vulnerability and risk caused by critical incidents lead to tensions between the parties (IOR dynamics) regarding how and when they rely on control and trust. Consequently, coping practices are applied to redefine the controlling and trusting domain and mediate between the multiple and temporal domains to ensure that control and trust refer to and create one another to (re)form positive expectations. The study's main implication is that it makes little sense to study control-trust dynamics in IORs, like other relational phenomena, in isolation and at a single point in time.