Building and repairing organization-level trustworthiness

Den Hartog, D.; Searle, R.; Gillespie, N. and Hatzakis, T. (2008). Building and repairing organization-level trustworthiness. In: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 8-13 Aug 2008, Anaheim, California.


To date, enormous energy has been devoted to researching interpersonal trust in organizational contexts. Yet despite widespread recognition that trust operates at multiple levels, and that an organization’s reputation for trustworthiness is a key source of competitive advantage, little research has systematically and conceptually unpacked the notion of organization-level trustworthiness (OT) as distinct from interpersonal trustworthiness. In this symposium, we showcase emerging, multidisciplinary research addressing the nature of OT from the perspective of employees: that is, what makes employees trust or mistrust the organizations they work for? More specifically, in light of the conference theme ‘The Questions We Ask’, this symposium delivers insights into the following questions: How can OT be defined and what are its core dimensions? In what ways does trust at the organizational level differ to interpersonal conceptions? What are the antecedents of OT, and do they differ across cultures and contexts? How can OT be repaired? Using multiple methods (e.g. surveys, interviews, case studies, conceptual theorizing), the four papers address a variety of trust-related processes including initial building, evolution over time, and repair once ruptured. Collectively, the papers suggest that the antecedents and processes of trust building and repair at the organizational level differ to those at the interpersonal level. By drawing together and discussing the perspectives and insights of the individual papers, this symposium will contribute to and stimulate debate on the concept of OT, as well as provide practical insights into how to build and repair an organization’s reputation for trustworthiness.

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