The production of trust during organizational change

Journal of Change Management 5 (2):221-245 (2005)
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Abstract

This paper investigates the relationships between organizational change and trust in management. It is argued that organizational change represents a critical episode for the production and destruction of trust in management. Although trust in management is seen as a semi stable psychological state, changes in organizations make trust issues salient and organizational members attend to and process trust relevant information resulting in a reassessment of their trust in management. The direction and magnitude of change in trust is dependent on a set of change dimensions that reflect trust relevant experiences and information. We distinguish between dimensions related to trust relevant consequences of the change and trust relevant aspects of how the change process is performed. Empirical results indicate that increases in post change emotional stress and the use of referential accounts for justifying change are both negatively related to post change trust in management. The use of ideological accounts and participation were found to be positively related to post change trust in management, so was perceived decision quality. Findings also indicate that the effects of change on trust are negatively moderated by tenure.

Author's Profile

Marcus Selart
Norwegian School of Economics

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