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The link between HIWPs and well-being at work: the mediating role of trust

Urtzi Uribetxebarria (Faculty of Engineering, Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Mondragon, Spain)
Mónica Gago (Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Mondragon, Spain)
Maite Legarra (Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Mondragon, Spain)
Unai Elorza (Faculty of Engineering, Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Mondragon, Spain)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 18 December 2020

Issue publication date: 8 June 2021




This paper examines the extent to which investment in human capital (HC) influences employee well-being, focusing on companies in the Basque Country in Northern Spain. Specifically, it analyzes the effects of worker perceptions of high-involvement work system (HIWS) on job satisfaction (JS) and affective commitment (AC), directly and through the mediating role of trust in management. This trust mediating role was also explored by analyzing the isolated effects of high-involvement work processes (power, information, reward and knowledge [PIRK] enhancing practices) on JS and AC.


The structural equation modeling (SEM) approach was used on a sample of 2,199 employees from 425 organizations working in different industries. As the study was performed at the organizational level, aggregation was conducted first.


The findings revealed that trust partially mediated the relationship between HIWS and JS, although AC was directly predicted by the system. In contrast, a trust mediating role was confirmed in the relationship between all PIRK processes, JS and AC.


This study highlights the “hinge” role of trust in linking high-involvement work practices (HIWPs) as an approach to assess HC in organizations and well-being at work. It further conceptualizes HIWS via a PIRK model and operationalizes it through systemic and dimensional approach.



This research was sponsored by Gipuzkoako Foru Aldundia (GFA) through the “Etorkizuna Eraikiz” program (a strategic collaboration agreement, between GFA and Mondragon Unibertsitatea). The assessments and views stated in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the GFA.


Uribetxebarria, U., Gago, M., Legarra, M. and Elorza, U. (2021), "The link between HIWPs and well-being at work: the mediating role of trust", Employee Relations, Vol. 43 No. 4, pp. 842-857.



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