Nurturing interpersonal trust in knowledge-sharing networks

Lisa C. Abrams, Rob Cross, Eric Lesser, Daniel Z. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

372 Scopus citations


In many organizations, informal networks are the primary means by which employees find information, solve complex problems, and learn how to do their work. Two forms of interpersonal trust - trust in a person's competence and in a person's benevolence - enable effective knowledge creation and sharing in these networks. Yet, though conceptually appealing, trust is an elusive concept that is often difficult for managers to influence. We conducted interviews in 20 organizations to identify ways in which interpersonal trust in a knowledge-sharing context develops. Based on this work, we summarize behaviors (e.g., discretion, consistency, collaboration) and practices (e.g., building shared vision, ensuring transparency in decision-making, holding people accountable for trust) for managers interested in promoting trust (and thereby knowledge creation and sharing) within their own organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-77
Number of pages14
JournalAcademy of Management Executive
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing

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