UArizona’s Eller College of Management Launches Trust Studies Center

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona has launched its new Center for Trust Studies.

Established by Oliver Schilke, associate professor of management and organizations, and supported by a five-year National Science Foundation grant, Eller’s Center for Trust Studies aims to bring together students and faculty and share research insights with managers and policy makers, host a series of workshops on trust in organizations, develop a number of teaching tools about trust, and get students from a variety of diverse backgrounds actively engaged in academic research.

“Trust has always been—and is now more than ever—a crucial element in human interaction,” says Schilke. “Academic interest in trust has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. However, we were lacking a collaborative space dedicated to bringing together ongoing efforts from various disciplines.”

Eller’s Center for Trust Studies is set out to make a strong contribution and spur collaboration among departments at UArizona and beyond, given how central trust is in a variety of subject areas.

The center will support research on trust, get students at all levels actively engaged in trust research, host visiting scholars and postdocs, and organize events with external speakers. The findings from academic trust research will then be disseminated to business and society through hosting seminars for organizational decision and policymakers and publishing in practitioner-oriented outlets.

Eller’s Center for Trust Studies will also develop new course materials and workshops on trust by designing online classes, sharing business and video case studies, and conducting group-based simulations. Students will be given the opportunity to participate in cases that involve tension between cooperation and competition, requiring them to make decisions about whether or not to trust.

“It is important for students of all ages to begin to learn about trust in collaborators and competition,” says Schilke. “The center will introduce students to the ways in which they can effectively use trust in decision making and relationship building.”

The Center for Trust Studies aims to invite world-class scholars to give a seminar and meet with faculty. There is much potential to coordinate these talks with other initiatives at Eller, including the Center for Leadership Ethics, the Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare and the Institute for Behavioral Economics.

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