This paper aims to contribute to the debate on employee performance by discussing the importance of trust in encouraging performance.
Based on a literature review of discretionary contributions to the organization and employee trust in their leaders.
There is strong evidence that the vulnerability of employees in the employment relationship has increased the importance of trust in encouraging employee extra‐role behaviour outside their legal and contractual obligation.
The importance of trust for employee behaviour has been well documented but the fragility of the psychological contract shows that discretionary extra‐role behaviour will be context specific.
Organizations need employees to perform beyond expectations and this paper shows the importance of trust in encouraging this performance.
This paper is important for managers and academics because of the imperative of being able to access and then use the knowledge and skills of employees.
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