Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Dark Side of Trust: When Trust Becomes a 'Poisoned Chalice'

Skinner, D.; Dietz, G.; Weibel, A.

The Dark Side of Trust: When Trust Becomes a 'Poisoned Chalice' Thumbnail


D. Skinner

G. Dietz

A. Weibel


Trust is typically portrayed as beneficial to all concerned; something which is inherently good. In this article we focus on interpersonal trust and argue that, while there are undoubted benefits, trust can also be problematic; there are circumstances in which it can become a ‘poisoned chalice’ for one or other of the parties involved. We question whether the potential for negative experiences in relation to trust has been fully explored and argue that its true dark side lies within the dynamics of the trust relationship. From this stance we use the social exchange and gift giving literatures to re-appraise trust in a way that highlights the importance of expectation and intent and demonstrates the circumstances in which trust may not be beneficial for one of the parties involved. We conclude with a research agenda which we believe will further develop our understanding of this complex human interaction.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2013
Publicly Available Date Nov 19, 2014
Journal Organization
Print ISSN 1350-5084
Electronic ISSN 1461-7323
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 2
Pages 206-224
Keywords Dark side of trust, Manipulation, Trust and gift-giving, Trust relationships, Unwanted obligation.
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (449 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Skinner, D. and Dietz, G. and Weibel, A. (2014) 'The dark side of trust : when trust becomes a ‘poisoned chalice’.', Organization., 21 (2). pp. 206-224. © The Author(s) 2013. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations