Edited by Rosalind H. Searle and Denise Skinner
Chapter 13: When Peers Become Leaders: The Effects of Internal Promotion on Workgroup Dynamics
Susan E. Brodt and Angela M. Dionisi INTRODUCTION Despite the abundance of research on trust in organizational settings (Mayer et al., 1995; Korsgaard et al., 2002), we know relatively little about how trust affects, and is affected by, human resource (HR) processes (see Mayer and Davis, 1999). For example, we know little about how trust helps (or harms) training and development activities or the success of international assignments. In part, this void exists because HR scholarship has focused primarily on important boundary activities, such as the dynamics of organizational entrance and exit (Johnston et al., 1993; Salamin and Hom, 2005; Searle and Billsberry, 2008). Many of the chapters in this volume, in fact, contribute to this growing body of research. Although important, the emphasis on boundaries has come at a cost in terms of our understanding of trust’s role in internal HR processes, such as employee promotions. Indeed, few studies have examined the effects of promotions on workplace relationships (Schwarzwald et al., 1992; Bobocel and Farrell, 1996) and even fewer have explored the effects of relationship elements, such as trust, on HR practices around promotion (Brodt and Dionisi, 2008). The purpose of this chapter is to analyze trust’s role in employee promotions, with an emphasis on promotions that occur within workgroups. We present a conceptual analysis highlighting the psychological challenges of such transitions in general, and pose the question: ‘Are internal promotions beneficial or detrimental to workgroup effectiveness?’. Our analysis identifies both a ‘promotion advantage’ and a ‘promotion penalty’...
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