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Title: Dyadic trust and the accomplishment of organisational objectives : competence, benevolence and integrity salience and institutional cues in perceptions of peer and leader trustworthiness
Author: Addison, Susan
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines a number of aspects of dyadic trust in organisations, and discusses the ways in which levels and types of trust can affect the achievement (or not) or organisational objectives. Motivated by two specific frameworks from the management literature, this thesis reports on interviews with sixty interviewees in three cohorts: two of these were within the public sector and one was private sector but in receipt of public funding (in the case of the university setting). The joint objectives were to explain aspects of the contextual internal construction of trust and also to examine how these vary within and between the three cohorts. In applying these approaches, the effects of trust are explained in terms of organisational effectiveness and the achievement of strategic objectives. In examining the ways in which trust is internally constructed by sector, Mayer et al.’s (1995) framework was employed (trust is a function of the trustor’s perception of the trustee’s competence, benevolence and integrity, hereafter CBI). In addition, Schoorman & Ballinger’s (2006) scale of trust and vulnerability was employed to establish the nature of trust tolerance and intolerance in the three organisational contexts. This scale, in turn, was used to establish the dynamics of trust relationships in context. Three general research questions were formulated and these underpinned the method, which was based on semi-structured interviews with interlocutors in the NHS, in the RAF and in a UK higher education institution. The overall aim of this research was to explore CBI salience within diverse trust workplace dyads and in particular to further understanding of how managerial actions and institutional elements influence employee perceptions of leader trustworthiness; as such, of key consideration was how this affects workplace behaviour, decisions to trust and consequences for organisational effectiveness. Interviews were conducted using narrative and numerical forms of interrogation: narrative in terms of evidence gathered in response to the research questions, and Likert scale data designed for interlocutors to respond to specific scenario-based queries. These were transcribed and interpreted using textual analysis techniques and simple non-parametric statistical analysis. Selected key findings include the following: The weightings on the three Mayer et al. (1995) trust factors (competence, benevolence and integrity) varied by cohort. In higher interdependence situations, tolerance for integrity breaches is lowest. This had implications for how cohort members reacted to scenarios on breaches of trust and how those potentially affected organisational effectiveness. Accordingly, the mean Likert scores demonstrated that an extra-marital affair would impact trust most strongly on the RAF cohort, followed by those in the NHS with academics being least affected; the separation in this regard between the RAF and academia was statistically significant. The RAF cohort also had the highest score for integrity in research question two. The contention is therefore that stronger intra- hierarchical integrity might be associated with inter-hierarchical integrity intolerance. Amongst the academics, the mean score for personal integrity was less than 3 (e.g. half marks). This suggests a high integrity tolerance in inter- hierarchical relationships (or a low integrity intolerance in inter-hierarchical relationships). In the RAF cohort, 4.45 (out of 5) said the affair would affect the effectiveness of the team. 4.05 (out of 5) say it would affect the achievement of department objectives. Key contributions include the following: o Within the trust construct, the component integrity was found to incorporate both professional and personal dimensions. As such, a perceived loss of leader personal integrity was found to cause some interlocutors to recalibrate their assessments of leader workplace trustworthiness. o Expanding on Lapidot et al.’s (2007) work, CBI was explored in a range of trust situations involving differing levels of situational vulnerability. In line with calls for research from Burke et al. (2007) this study found differing CBI salience depending on the cohort, which were explained in reference to different contextual combinations of cognitive, affect and institutional trust incorporating differing levels of inter and intra-hierarchical vulnerability and interdependence. o In support of Redman et al.’s (2011) study, high levels of value incongruence were found to accompany low inter-hierarchical trust. This study built on this work in qualitatively exploring reasons for the onset of and differences in value congruence/ incongruence found. o It has previously been speculated in the literature that employee salience of leader BI increases with extent of vulnerability operating on three levels (Simons, 2002); these findings provided an empirical contribution to support these contentions with the RAF context having the highest levels of all three vulnerability types and therefore of both intra- and inter-hierarchical trust. o The importance of managerial transparency, even within unpopular agendas, was highlighted due to the destructive nature of perceived dishonesty where differences of agenda between professionals and management were not fully acknowledged; this provides clear practical implications for leaders involved in the management of a heterogeneous group of professionals (such as the NHS and academics). o The high salience which RAF personnel placed on having a line manager who had been promoted through the RAF ranks, and hence undertaken the full RAF training programme, was unanimously echoed throughout the cohort. This demonstrated that non-military trained managers would lack credibility within this cohort, due to low task-specific competence, which would be extremely damaging to trust.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available