Cooperation & Trust LO5681

Gray Southon (
Sat, 17 Feb 1996 08:57:21 +1100 (EST)

Replying to LO5656 --

It seems to me that this discussion on trust and cooperation is getting
very confused. I suggest that trust is an attitude, a state of mind, and
cannot apply to those things that do not have minds (like cells and

Cooperation, on the other hand, is a collective activity in which the
components support the efforts of each other in some way. Such activity
does not require minds, though it helps.

When people cooperate, then trust is an important part of the process.

Thus trust and cooperation are related, but are essentially different
types of concepts.

Gray Southon

At 01:31 PM 15/2/96 -0800, wrote:

>When I think about this issue I see how theory can help us understand why
>cooperation is an evolutionary strategy that has persisted and is
>widespread (specially tit for tat strategies). When I follow this track
>however, I have trouble making a distinction between cooperation and
>Throughout the evolutionary history of life, cooperation among a huddle of
>smaller units such as cells led to the emergence of more complex
>structures, whether cells with nuclei or multicellular organisms. I dont
>think trust was needed, just cooperation. So what distinguishes trust
>from cooperation?
>I find it useful to examine trust by looking at the elements required for
>trust to emerge and endure. Mutual benefit is grounds for cooperation but
>predictability, consistency, recurrence (i.e. a history of interactions)
>are necessary for trust to emerge. Is trust an emergent property of a
>history of cooperation?
>Roberto Reichard

Gray Southon
Consultant in Health Management Research and Analsysis
15 Parthenia St., Caringbah, NSW 2229, Australia
Ph/Fax +61 2 524 7822

Gray Southon <>

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