Why, how, and when is trust central to transformational leadership? : a social exchange perspective

為何, 如何以及何時信任在變革型領導中起關鍵作用? : 社會交換的視角

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Author(s)

  • Yue ZHU

Related Research Unit(s)

Detail(s)

Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Syed AKHTAR (Supervisor)
Award date15 Feb 2012

Abstract

Recognizing the central role of trust in transformational leadership processes, previous research has examined it as an intervening variable in the relationship between transformational leadership and followers' work outcomes. However, a limited number of studies have taken into account its multidimensional nature in terms of cognition-based trust and affect-based trust (McAllister, 1995). The cognitive and affective components of trust have been demonstrated to represent different psychological processes (Lau & Cobb, 2010). To better understand transformational leadership processes, this study proposed and examined a model in which cognition-based trust and affect-based trust mediate the relationships between transformational leadership and followers' extra-role behaviors (helping behavior and knowledge sharing) and work attitudes (job satisfaction and affective commitment). Additionally, using procedural justice and other orientation as moderators, the boundary conditions of each of the links in the conceptual model were specified and tested. Procedural justice is an important issue in the leadership literature (Colquitt & Greenberg, 2003), but it has been underexplored as a factor of organizational context in transformational leadership research (Porter & McLaughlin, 2006). Procedural justice was thus proposed as a moderator of the relationship between transformational leadership and followers' trust in the leader. Furthermore, other orientation - as an important work motive that has a substantial influence on employees' extra-role behaviors (Grant & Berg, 2011) - was proposed as a moderator of the relationships between cognition-based trust and affect-based trust and extra-role behaviors. Survey questionnaires were distributed among sales employees of four private retail companies and servicing employees of five private manufacturing companies located in a major city in southeast China. The final sample consisted of 140 sales employees and 63 supervisors in the retail industry, and 208 service employees and 63 supervisors in the manufacturing industry. Response rate was 69.6%. Data from the two subsamples were combined after testing for measurement equivalence. Mediation hypotheses were tested using a series of regression analysis. The results showed that affect-based trust mediated the relationships between transformational leadership and followers' helping behavior and knowledge sharing; meanwhile, cognition-based trust did not have mediating effects on these relationships. Affect-based trust partially mediated the relationships between transformational leadership and followers' job satisfaction and affective commitment, whereas cognition-based trust partially mediated only the affective commitment. Results obtained from the moderated regression analysis showed that transformational leadership was more strongly related to both cognition-based trust and affect-based trust when followers perceived low levels of procedural justice. In addition, other orientation had differential moderating effects on the relationships between cognition-based trust and affect-based trust and extra-role behaviors. Affect-based trust was more strongly related to extra-role behaviors among followers with high other orientation, whereas cognition-based trust was more strongly related to extra-role behaviors among followers with low other orientation. Further moderated mediation analysis indicated that affect-based trust mediated the relationships between transformational leadership and followers' extra-role behaviors only among employees with high other orientation, whereas cognition-based trust mediated these relationships only for those with low other orientation. Overall, results point to the distinct mediating roles of affect-based trust and cognition-based trust in transformational leadership processes. Implications for the theory and practice of leadership are also discussed.

    Research areas

  • Leadership, Trust