Article | Harvard Business Review | May 2009

When Contracts Destroy Trust

by Deepak Malhotra


Contracts exist to foster trust, but they can actually do the opposite. Overly detailed contracts leave no room for spontaneous acts of kindness to create goodwill between parties; too-rigid contracts leave parties unable to respond to the unanticipated; and, strangely enough, incentives can end up being just plain insulting.

Keywords: Contracts; Negotiation; Trust;


Malhotra, Deepak. "When Contracts Destroy Trust." Harvard Business Review 87, no. 5 (May 2009): 25.