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Article
Is Trust Always Better than Distrust? The Potential Value of Distrust in Newer Virtual Teams Engaged in Short-term Decision-Making
Group Decision and Negotiation
  • Paul Benjamin Lowry, City University of Hong Kong
  • Ryan M. Schuetzler, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Justin Scott Giboney, University at Albany, State University of New York
  • Thomas A. Gregory, Georgia State University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
7-1-2015
Abstract

The debate on the benefits of trust or distrust in groups has generated a substantial amount of research that points to the positive aspects of trust in groups, and generally characterizes distrust as a negative group phenomenon. Therefore, many researchers and practitioners assume that trust is inherently good and distrust is inherently bad. However, recent counterintuitive evidence obtained from face-to-face (FtF) groups indicates that the opposite might be true; trust can prove detrimental, and distrust instrumental, to decision-making in groups. By extending this argument to virtual teams (VTs), we examined the value of distrust for VTs completing routine and non-routine decision tasks, and showed that the benefits of distrust can extend to short-term VTs. Specifically, VTs seeded with distrust significantly outperformed all control groups in a non-routine decision-making task. In addition, we present quantitative evidence to show that the decision task itself can significantly affect the overall levels of trust/distrust within VTs. In addition to its practical and research implications, the theoretical contribution of our study is that it extends to a group level, and then to a VT setting, a theory of distrust previously tested in the psychology literature in the context of completing non-routine and routine decision tasks at an individual level.

Comments

The final publication is available at Springer via http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10726-014-9410-x.

Citation Information
Paul Benjamin Lowry, Ryan M. Schuetzler, Justin Scott Giboney and Thomas A. Gregory. "Is Trust Always Better than Distrust? The Potential Value of Distrust in Newer Virtual Teams Engaged in Short-term Decision-Making" Group Decision and Negotiation Vol. 24 Iss. 4 (2015) p. 723 - 752
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rschuetzler/8/