Underperforming institutions: A multiperspective approach to trust and confidence

Research output: Ph.D. ThesisPhD Research external, graduation external

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This qualitative study examined how the complex institutional context of gas extraction in Groningen affects relations and processes of trust, and seeks to better understand what is necessary for restoring trust. In the Groningen gas case, responsibilities for dealing with multiple negative consequences of gas extraction are shared by many different organizations who together form a complex institutional system. Numerous professionals are doing their best to help solve the problems. As individuals, case managers and other professionals are seen as benevolent and hard-working people. But as representatives of (large) institutions these professionals struggle to be seen as trustworthy because of persistent problems with institutional performance, with professionals themselves feeling they have insufficient discretionary power. More than interpersonal trust, a different form of trust appears to be at stake here: confidence in the system itself. According to many respondents, confidence in the system is low because the perceived interests of the institutions that shaped this system are not aligned with those of residents and the region. In addition, the positions of power and responsibility within this system are opaque to both residents and professionals. Moreover, the institutional system is perceived to be based on a distrustful attitude toward citizens in general, resulting in elaborate procedures for accountability, control and monitoring. These factors have become obstacles to restoring confidence in the system, no matter how well residents and professionals get along as individuals.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Bulder, E.A.M., Supervisor
  • Postmes, Tom, Supervisor, External person
  • Stroebe, Katherine, Supervisor, External person
Award date2 Feb 2023
Place of PublicationGroningen
Print ISBNs9789464196979
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2023


  • trust
  • confidence
  • groningen gas case
  • performance
  • trustworthiness


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