Trust and the Lifecycle of Organizations

  • John G. Bruhn
Part of the Clinical Sociology book series (CSRP)


A friend related the following story. He had accepted a position as a Vice President in a large corporation but would not assume the position officially for approximately six months. During this period, the President of the corporation, whom he greatly admired and to whom he was to report, became ill and announced that he was stepping down. A vice president who was a member of the leadership team accepted the Presidency of another firm. Searches for two management executives were suspended pending the naming of the President’s successor. My friend was dismayed to learn that the organization he was eager to join would change substantially before he got there. He was especially concerned because his boss and some of his future associates were people whom he believed he could trust and work with effectively. His expectations of the trustfulness of the organization he had committed to join were influenced by people who were no longer there. An organization is like a moving train which takes on and drops off passengers at various points en route to its destination. Establishing and reestablishing trust is what passengers do as the train moves from point to point.


Organizational Learning Leadership Team Family Business Organizational Member Leadership Behavior 
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    There is an interesting debate on whether organizations should be considered moral persons for the purpose of analyzing their social responsibilities. The moral person approach has been proposed by French, P.A. (1979). The corporation as a moral person.American Philosophical Quarterly 16 207–215 and Ozar, D.T. (1979). The moral responsibility of corporations In T. Donaldson & P.H. Werhane, (Eds.),Ethical issues in business pp. 294–300. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Also see Keeley, M. (1981). Organizations as non-persons.Journal of Value Inquiry 15 149–155.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Bruhn
    • 1
  1. 1.New Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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