Trust and Relationship

by Lewicki, Handbook of Conflict Resolution

Relationships are based on trust.


When trust breaks down, conflict may arise.


Trust has been defined as:




an individual's belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of,

the words,


and decisions of another.


An individual's Ability to Trust another is based on elements such as:


A person’s BELIEFS developed through

their life experiences.


A person’s NORMS established

by their social context.


A person’s EXPERIENCES within

the given relationship.


Trust and Distrust are not simply opposite ends

of the same dimension.

They are fundamentally different:


In trust, one has positive expectations of the other, thereby implying a belief in another person.


In distrust, one has negative expectations of the other, thereby implying fear of the other.

Both, the 'belief in' or the 'fear of' the other, drastically frame and shape ANY interaction.


Therefore, in order to perceive accurately during times of conflict,

it is key to increase trust and decrease distrust.


Investing time to get to know the ‘Other’, and thereby…


   Discovering common interests, hopes, and struggles.

The aim is to develop enough trust as a base on which the conflicted sides can engage with openness and honour each other’s safety needs.


This can be achieved through steps such as:

"Man must evolve - for all human conflict -

a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation."


Martin Luther King Jr.