The Open UniversitySkip to content

The development of trust and distrust in a merger

Searle, Rosalind H. and Ball, Kirstie S. (2004). The development of trust and distrust in a merger. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 19(7) pp. 708–721.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper explores the development and maintenance of trust and distrust in an organization undergoing a merger. Using a longitudinal study we examined the sense-making of retained staff by comparing two sets of in-depth interviews with six survivors and detailed field notes. Four central themes were identified revealing differences between trust and distrust. The themes included: the importance of perceived changes to the psychological contract, organizational justice, reputations of individuals and risk management. By analysing the sense-making the need for congruence between what was done and how it was done was revealed. As distrust grew staff balanced this disequilibrium through their trust in the familiar, however, this finding calls into question the role of rationality as the basis for risk management. We discuss the implications of these findings for the successful management of mergers.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN: 0268-3946
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetBritish Academy
Keywords: acquisitions and mergers; employees; sensory perception; trust
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 1944
Depositing User: Users 12 not found.
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 08:50
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU