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Exploring the impact of trust on research scientists' work engagement: Evidence from Irish science research centres

Aamir Ali Chughtai (Dublin City University Business School, Dublin, Ireland)
Finian Buckley (Dublin City University Business School, Dublin, Ireland)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 31 May 2013

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2566

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of trust in top management and trust in team members on research scientists' work engagement. Specifically, it is proposed that the link between trust in top management and work engagement will be mediated by organizational identification whereas the relationship between trust in team members and work engagement will be mediated by team psychological safety.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 170 research scientists, drawn from six Irish science research centres. Structural equation modelling was used to test the direct and mediating effects.

Findings

Results revealed that as hypothesised, organizational identification and team psychological safety fully mediated the effects of trust in top management and trust in team members on work engagement respectively.

Research limitations/implications

The cross‐sectional research design and the use of self‐reported data are the main limitations of this research. Additionally, the team psychological safety scale exhibited a relatively low reliability and, therefore, the results should be viewed with caution. Limitations aside, this study demonstrates that science researchers' trust in top management and their fellow team members is likely to be an important driver of work engagement.

Originality/value

This is the first study which has empirically established a link between work engagement and two distinct forms of trust. In addition, it also uncovers the psychological processes through which researchers' trust in top management and their team members can influence work engagement.

Keywords

Citation

Chughtai, A.A. and Buckley, F. (2013), "Exploring the impact of trust on research scientists' work engagement: Evidence from Irish science research centres", Personnel Review, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 396-421. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-06-2011-0097

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited