Understandig trust : longitudinal studies on trust dynamics in governance interactions

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Trust is generally perceived as an important concept in governance processes where people cooperate, as it enables people to take risks and deal with uncertainties, and it facilitates cooperation. These characteristics are seen as important in new and alternative ways of implementing public policies. These governance approaches focus more and more on network governance and on organising more horizontal interactions. In these contexts, trust is seen as a means to control and manage relations. It is therefore surprising that empirical studies on trust are lacking. Consequently, little is known about how trust emerges and develops in governance processes. This thesis addresses this gap and focuses on the question: How does trust emerge and develop in governance interactions? In answering this question, I take a dynamic perspective on trust. Here, trust is seen as a positive expectation about an actor’s ways of doing. This perspective in particular takes into account the dynamics of governance interactions. In this thesis, I focus on the field of spatial planning, as one of the fields of governance. In planning processes, four aspects are important. First, planning processes consist of a series of interactions that are organised in a certain way and have specific characteristics. Second, in these interactions, various policy instruments are used to guide the process and work towards a collective objective. Third, these interactions take place between groups and their members. These groups have their own identity and related roles and rules that influence the planning process. Fourth, in these interactions, people express trust and distrust to support their ideas, collaboration, or preferred choice. In studying trust dynamics, I focus in the subsequent chapters on these four aspects and how they influence and are influenced by trust dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Aarts, Noelle, Promotor
  • Leeuwis, Cees, Promotor
  • Beunen, Raoul, Co-promotor
  • Lokhorst, Anne Marike, Co-promotor
Award date5 Nov 2014
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789462571013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • beliefs
  • governance
  • longitudinal studies
  • nature conservation policy
  • cooperation
  • physical planning
  • public authorities
  • groups
  • contracts
  • organization


Dive into the research topics of 'Understandig trust : longitudinal studies on trust dynamics in governance interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this