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Trust in Organizations

  • John G. Bruhn
Part of the Clinical Sociology book series (CSRP)

Abstract

Changes in the work environment over the past two to three decades have significantly altered how we trust organizations, our bosses and our coworkers. In the past, there was such a thing as lifetime employment. Corporations and businesses assumed responsibility for career development, and employees believed that their employer would act in their best interests. Then, due to large inefficiencies, companies began developing a low dependency on employees, leading to restructurings, mergers, and downsizings. Now, companies encourage employees to be concerned about their own career development. Employees’ views of work have also changed. Employment has become more transactional. Richards (1998) attributes this to a decline in trust between employer and employee. Employees know they are expendable and employers owe little allegiance to their workers. Furthermore, many employees identify themselves more with their roles than they do with their companies. This free ownership leads employees to see themselves as free agents; they stay on the lookout for the next opportunity. Richards (1998) describes how GTE launched a recruitment effort for a project in Latin America, listing positions on more than 20 Web sites. Within a 30-day period, GTE had more than 1,000 external resumes. Richards has characterized today’s work force as multicultural vagabonds. Mutual trust between employer and employee is the casualty.

Keywords

Social Capital Transformational Leader Organizational Citizenship Behavior Citizenship Behavior Leader Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Carnevale, D.G. (1995).Trustworthy government: Leadership and management strategies for building trust and high performancep.4. Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Trust is studied cross-culturally in Brazil and the United States. See G.F. Farris, E.E. Senner, & D.A. Butterfield (1973). Trust, culture, and organizational behavior.Industrial Relations 12144–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    As quoted in Fox, A. (1974).Beyond contract: Power and trust relations.London: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Butler, J.K. (1999). Trust expectations, information sharing, climate of trust, and negotiation effectiveness and efficiency.Group and Organization Management 24(2)217–238 for a discussion of the economic value of trust.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Covey, S.R. (1999). High-trust cultures.Executive Excellence 16(9)3–4.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See Senge, P. (1999).The dance of change: The challenges to sustaining momentum in learning organizations.New York: Currency Doubleday for a discussion of the dynamics of “walking the talk”Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Alderfer discusses the effects of the extremes of impermeable and permeable boundaries. See Alderfer, C.P. (1976). Boundary relations and organizational diagnoses. In H. Meltzer, ER. Wickert (Eds.)Humanizing organizational behaviorpp. 109–133. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas. Also see Finkelstein, M.S. (1999). Good boundaries make good neighbors: Boundary management-tearing down the walls and fostering organizational change. Sociological Practice: A Journal of Clinical and Applied Sociology,1(3)193–208; and, Bruhn, J.G. & Lewis, R. (1992). Boundary fighting: Territorial conflicts in health organizations. Health Care Supervisor 10(4)56–65.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sharing information alone, without the expectation of trust, does not help in developing a climate of trust. See Butler, J.K. (1999). Trust expectations, information sharing, climate of trust, and negotiation effectiveness and efficiency.Group and Organization Management 24(2)217–238.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See Bennis, W. (1999). The end of leadership: Exemplary leadership is impossible without full inclusion, initiatives, and cooperation of followers.Organizational Dynamics Summer71–79.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    For an interesting study of the conditions for cognition-based and affect-based trust among managers and professionals see McAllister, D.J. (1995). Affect-and cognition-based trust as foundations for interpersonal cooperation in organizations.Academy of Management Journal 38(1)24–59.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hostility has been found to moderate the relationship between job enrichment and health care costs. However, employees who have more control in their jobs have fewer health problems, even when they demonstrate hostility. Dwyer, D.J., & Fox, M.L. (2000). The moderating role of hostility in the relationship between enriched jobs and health.Academy of Management Journal 43(6)1086–1096. Also see Karasek, R., & Theorell, T. (1990).Healthy work: Stress productivity,and the reconstruction of working life. New York: Basic Books. These authors review evidence showing how high demand/low control jobs affect employee’s productivity and health. Also see Ouchi, W.G., & Johnson, J.B. (1978). Types of organizational control and their relationship to emotional well being.Administrative Science Quarterly 23293–315. This paper illustrates the central point that the manner in which people at work are linked to each other can be a source of moral integration in their lives and in their society.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Also see Schein, E.H. (1983). The role of the founder in creating organizational culture.Organizational Dynamics Summer 13–28.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Bruhn
    • 1
  1. 1.New Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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