Trust and Distrust in Community Sports Work: Tales From the “Shop Floor”

Laura A. Gale, Ben A. Ives, Paul Potrac, Lee J. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


This study addressed the issue of interpersonal trust and distrust in the (sporting) workplace. Data were generated through cyclical, in-depth interviews with 12 community sports coaches. The interview transcripts were subjected to etic and emic readings, with Hardin and Cook’s theorization of (dis)trust and Goffman’s dramaturgical writings providing the primary heuristic devices. Our analysis produced three interconnected themes. These were a) how the participants’ decision to (dis)trust contextual others was based on their perceptions of encapsulated interests, b) those strategies that the participants employed to judge the trustworthiness of colleagues, and c) how the participants’ workplace bonds with coworkers differed according to their perceived trustworthiness. Importantly, this study revealed how interpersonal (dis)trust for these individuals was informed by the pursuit of various professional interests, uncertainty regarding continued employment and career progression, and was subject to ongoing strategic interaction and reflection. Based on these findings, we believe there is much to gain from the micro-level exploration of “how” and “why” sports workers seek to negotiate and manage workplace relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-253
JournalSociology of Sport Journal
Issue number3
Early online date31 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


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