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Article

A. R. Elangovan, Werner Auer-Rizzi and Erna Szabo

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of damage incurred by the trustor as a result of a trust violation and the impact of different levels of post-violation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of damage incurred by the trustor as a result of a trust violation and the impact of different levels of post-violation trust repair behaviours by the trustee on the subsequent erosion of trust.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 232 middle to senior level managers using a two-part scenario-based experimental design to test the impact of damage incurred (avoided) and post-violation repair behaviour. Respondents’ levels of trust were measured pre- and post-violation as well as forgiving and a range of demographic variables.

Findings

Results showed that trust eroded independent of the level of damage that may have been caused. Further, post-violation trust repair behaviour by the trustee led to a significantly lower erosion of trust as compared to not engaging in such behaviours. Furthermore, erosion of trust was minimized, when the trustee engaged in increasing levels of trust repair behaviour. Results also showed that trustors who were relatively more forgiving were less likely to lose trust in the trustee after a violation.

Research limitations/implications

In this study we focused on two key factors influencing the erosion of trust. Further factors need to be identified and empirically tested in order to get a more holistic view on how trust erodes. The results serve as one step towards building an integrated model of trust erosion.

Practical implications

For practicing managers, the results imply that the actual incurrence or avoidance of damages from a trust violation appears to be peripheral – trustors are more concerned about the violation as a principle and a harbinger of similar future incidents. Further, quickly engaging in trust repair behaviours, such as offering an a good explanation, a heartfelt apology, and appropriate remedy, helps minimize the erosion of trust.

Originality/value

This paper addresses an under-investigated facet of trust research in organizations – erosion of trust – which is especially crucial in light of the growing awareness that most organizational relationships actually start off with high levels of trust rather than low trust. Thus, this study offers insights into maintaining (as opposed to building) trust.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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Article

A.R. Elangovan, Werner Auer‐Rizzi and Erna Szabo

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of the trustor's responsibility‐attributions for a trust violation and the trustee's frequency of prior violations on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of the trustor's responsibility‐attributions for a trust violation and the trustee's frequency of prior violations on the subsequent erosion of trust in the relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 120 middle‐senior level managers using a two‐part scenario‐based experimental design to test the impact of attributions and frequency of violations. Respondents' levels of trust and distrust were measured pre‐ and post‐violation as well as forgiving and a range of demographic variables.

Findings

Results showed that trust eroded (and distrust increased) more when trustors perceived the trustees as not wanting to fulfill the trust‐expectations than when they could not do so. Further, trustors were willing to tolerate a maximum of two violations before trust in the relationship eroded significantly. The results also showed that trustors who were relatively more forgiving were less likely to lose trust in the trustee after a violation, as were younger and less experienced individuals.

Research limitations/implications

Although scenario‐based experiments assess the cognitive states of the respondents rather than actual behaviors, they serve as a valuable first step. By highlighting the two‐step sequence that may underlie the trust erosion process and emphasizing the importance of using an attributional perspective, the paper invites future research on a range of factors such as patterns of violation, degrees of damage, etc. Collectively, they ought to lead to an integrated model of trust erosion.

Practical implications

For practicing managers, the results underscore the importance of maintaining trust by constantly meeting expectations. While they may be forgiven for one‐time mistakes in maintaining trust, they cannot be repeated without severely damaging the trust in the relationship. Also, employees need to be convinced that the erring manager or colleague has done his/her very best to prevent the violation.

Originality/value

This paper addresses an under‐investigated facet of trust research in organizations – erosion of trust – which is especially crucial in light of the growing awareness that most organizational relationships actually start off with high levels of trust rather than low trust. Thus, this study offers insights into maintaining (as opposed to building) trust.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Article

Joshua Chang, Grant O’Neill and Antonio Travaglione

The purpose of this study is to explain demographic influences on employee trust towards managers.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explain demographic influences on employee trust towards managers.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon a data set of over 5,000 responses from the Australian workforce, this paper examines demographic influences on employee trust in their managers.

Findings

The findings show that demographic influences have an effect on employee trust towards managers. Employees who are male, older, public sector, permanent, longer tenured and unionised were found to be less likely to trust managers.

Practical implications

Relevant to human resource practice, the findings offer potential for the development of trust by identifying employees who are less likely to trust managers. The expected outcome is that such employees can be selected for programmes and practices aimed at improving trust, such as increased managerial contact, consultation and support.

Originality/value

There has been a general decline of employee trust in managers over the past two decades. Research on the antecedents of trust has been reported to lag behind theory, with a paucity of research relating to demographic influences on employee trust towards managers. This study fills this research gap and offers potential for the targeted development of trust towards managers among employees.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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