The purpose of this paper is to examine how leaders’ behaviour and subordinates’ personality can impact subordinates’ feelings of being trusted. Feeling trusted by one’s leader is associated with increased performance, organisational citizenship behaviours and job satisfaction (Baer et al., 2015; Lester and Brower, 2003).
Participants read a vignette in which a leader’s behaviour was manipulated and then rated the extent to which they felt trusted. Participants in Sample 1 consisted of 726 undergraduate students with work experience, and Sample 2 consisted of 1,196 people with work experience recruited over CrowdFlower, a crowd-sourcing website.
Results from both samples indicate that a leader delegating a task increases subordinate felt trust, for Sample 1 p<0.001, d=0.75 and for Sample 2 p<0.001, d=0.90. Further, subordinate felt trust increases when the task delegated is of high importance, for Sample 1 p<0.001, d=0.42 and for Sample 2 p<0.001, d=0.58. The likelihood of the delegated task resulting in negative outcomes and subordinate propensity to trust have negligible effects on felt trust.
Despite the organisational benefits of felt trust, it is still unclear how to elicit subordinates’ felt trust. This study is one of the first to empirically examine leader behaviour that may lead subordinates to feel trusted in the workplace. These findings support theoretical underpinnings of the relational leadership model and the risk-based model of trust.
Hanna, J., Elms, A., Gill, H., Stanley, D. and Powell, D. (2019), "The effect of leader risk-taking on subordinate felt trust", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 163-176. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-11-2018-0386Download as .RIS
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