A strategic action fields perspective on organizational trust repair

Branko Bozic (Lead / Corresponding author), Sabina Siebert, Graeme Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
975 Downloads (Pure)


While the extant literature on organizational trust repair has considered the agency and trust repair actions of individual organizations, it has neglected repair following trust-damaging events affecting specific industries. Drawing on the theory of strategic action fields we ask two research questions: (1) How do reputational scandals involving a few transgressing firms affect trust in the whole institutional field? (2) Do the transgressing firms repair trust in the same way as the blameless ones in the same field? To answer these questions we investigated four cases of retail organizations that engaged in trust repair actions following a food safety scandal, two that were widely held to have transgressed, and two that were held to be relatively blameless. We compared the trust repair strategies of both groups, finding that even the blameless organizations felt compelled to act to repair trust. However, blameless organizations also sought to differentiate themselves from the transgressing ones by using specific strategies to restore trust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number1
Early online date3 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Organizational trust
  • Strategic action fields
  • Trust breach
  • Trust repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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