SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Lucy Williams

BSc (Voronezh) MBS (Sunderland)
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Lucy Williams
Ms Lucy Williams
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Thesis title:
The role of timing in sensemaking in the psychological contract and trust reciprocity process of foreign and British babysitters in the UK
Year of Study:
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PhD Research

The effects of trust in psychological contract (PC) have always been emphasised (Montes and Irving, 2008; Robinson, 1996) but the role of its specific concepts (trustworthiness, risk taking behaviour) and the order, frequency and longevity of occurrence of events related to these concepts are under-researched. To address these issues we introduce the role of time in studying trust and PC processes (Roe, 2008; Mitchell & James, 2001).

The universal norm of reciprocity plays a role in explaining PC outcomes (Parzefall & Coyle-Shapiro, 2011; Robinson, 1996) though not all research supports this idea (Kiazad et al., 2014) and the reciprocal effects of trust have been established (Seppala et al., 2011; Halbesleben and Wheeler , 2015) . Nevertheless, the way employees make sense of the norm of reciprocity and timing in trust and PC process remains unclear.

While institutional trust is studied at macro-level ( Bachmann et al., 2015), at micro-level interactional trust is researched. We use sensemaking as a “bridging construct” between institutional trust and interpersonal trust (Kroeger, 2013) and study the role of institutional trust in the process of PC and establishing event(s) in the trust and PC processes which are affected by institutions, integrating exchange theory and institutional theory. Three different models (Kroeger, 2013; Mayer et al., 1995; Serva et al., 2005) are adopted and integrated into our model of timing in the reciprocity cycle of trust and PC. Studying culturally different groups of employees and employers enables us to learn cultural differences in timing trust and PC events. We intend to contribute to existing research on the role of specific concepts of trust in PC by highlighting the role of timing in the sensemaking process of PC and trust reciprocity. We shall establish how employees and employers from different cultures are timing specific events in an ongoing reciprocal process of cross-cultural trust and PC formation in the research, where the exchange theory and institutional theory are integrated.


  • School of Finance and Management
  • Centre for Trust Research


  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Principles of Management


  • Organisational Behaviour