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Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace

Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace

Management Challenges and Symptoms

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski

A work exposing and exploring the phenomena of the dysfunctional workplace is long overdue. This fascinating book does just that, uncovering the subversiveness, counter-productive behaviour and unspoken ‘issues’ that managers struggle with on a daily basis.

Chapter 8: Employee Loss of Trust in Management: Surviving in a New Era

Roger C. Mayer

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Roger C. Mayer Opportunities for gain via organizational trust While trust was sporadically recognized as important in the management literature, until the mid-1990s the topic was often mentioned, but then attention was turned to other more manageable topics (Gambetta, 1988). In contrast, the last decade has seen a great deal of attention turned to the topic of trust in the workplace (Kramer and Tyler, 1996; Dirks and Ferrin, 2002). Sadly, there is no credible evidence that the new interest in trust has translated into higher trust levels in the workplace. Corporate scandals such as those seen at Enron, WorldCom and Tyco may have actually taken trust in management in the opposite direction. Over four decades ago, Argyris (1964) theorized that organizations in which members trusted the leaders would perform better than those whose leaders garnered less trust. Surprisingly little empirical evidence of this proposed performance improvement has been published. Dirks (2000) found that National Collegiate Athletics Association basketball teams who had higher levels of trust in their respective coach amassed better win/loss records than those whose coaches garnered less trust. Davis et al. (2000) found that in a chain of restaurants, those in which the facility’s general manager was more trusted had significantly higher overall sales and net profits than those where the manager was less trusted. The fact that these differences were statistically significant was particularly striking, given that with only nine stores in the study there was very little statistical power. To achieve statistical...

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