Towards a two‐factor theory of interpersonal trust: a focus on trust in leadership

Rachid Zeffane (Department of Business and Public Administration, College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Commerce and Management

ISSN: 1056-9219

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The paper attempts to develop an approach to “trust” in leadership based on Herzberg's two‐factor theory.


The paper focuses on thoughts and current knowledge on leadership in organizations.


Challenging the orthodox view of leadership and charisma, the paper argues that leaders' “traits” (or values) matter significantly and do have a significant effect on “trustworthiness.” Their presence would then lead followers to evaluate “behaviors.” Their absence would trigger initial “mistrust.” This reinforces the significance of expected types of certain behaviors as determinants of trust in leadership. The paper culminates with a general hypothetical model justified through anecdotal considerations.


The paper lays the foundations for future empirical research aimed at testing the model.



Zeffane, R. (2010), "Towards a two‐factor theory of interpersonal trust: a focus on trust in leadership", International Journal of Commerce and Management, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 246-257.

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