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Employee trust, and increasingly its absence, is a critical topic for researchers and practitioners interested in social relations in the context of work and organizing. Employee trust repair is particularly important in the current disrupted work environment, due to unpredictable changes such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty those bring to our lives. It is not surprising that employee trust is attracting increasing interest among researchers and practitioners alike. In this article, we systematically review and take stock of the research on trust repair conducted in the past two decades to provide comprehensive insights and future research directions for researchers and managers. In our review, we propose that early use of trust repair strategies in response to small violations, prevents these violations escalating into larger violations, and hence, enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of trust repair with employees. We conclude by describing future directions.
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Journal of Business Research 130 (2021) 98–109
0148-2963/© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Employee trust repair: A systematic review of 20 years of empirical research
and future research directions
T. K¨
ahk¨
onen
a
,
*
, K. Blomqvist
a
,
*
, N. Gillespie
b
,
*
, M. Vanhala
c
,
*
a
School of Business and Management, LUT University, Finland
b
University of Queensland Business School, Australia
c
School of Business and Management, LUT University, Finland and School of Business and Economics, University of Jyv¨
askyl¨
a, Finland
ARTICLE INFO
Keywords:
Employee trust repair
Systematic literature review
Trust
ABSTRACT
Employee trust, and increasingly its absence, is a critical topic for researchers and practitioners interested in
social relations in the context of work and organizing. Employee trust repair is particularly important in the
current disrupted work environment, due to unpredictable changes such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the
uncertainty those bring to our lives. It is not surprising that employee trust is attracting increasing interest among
researchers and practitioners alike. In this article, we systematically review and take stock of the research on
trust repair conducted in the past two decades to provide comprehensive insights and future research directions
for researchers and managers. In our review, we propose that early use of trust repair strategies in response to
small violations, prevents these violations escalating into larger violations, and hence, enhances the efciency
and effectiveness of trust repair with employees. We conclude by describing future directions.
1. Introduction
Technological, economic, and socio-political disruptions challenge
contemporary organizations and heighten employee uncertainty and
feelings of vulnerability (Gustafsson et al., 2020). Employee trust repair
is particularly important in the current disrupted work environment,
due to unpredictable changes such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the
uncertainty those bring to our lives (Rudolph et al., 2020). Organiza-
tional responses to such disruptions such as through restructuring and
downsizing are prevalent, leading to increased interest in how employee
trust can be preserved and maintained in an increasingly complex work
environment. Employee trust plays a critical role in organizations as
trusting employees are more committed to their work and remain with
the organization longer than those lacking trust (Weibel et al., 2016; see
also Andiappan & Trevi˜
no, 2010; Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Lewicki &
Brinseld, 2017; Reina & Reina, 2015). Trust as a sustainable organizing
principle (McEvily et al., 2003) provides many benets to employees
and their organizations enhancing employee cooperativeness, knowl-
edge sharing, and effective problem solving (see, e.g., Fulmer & Gelfand,
2012; Tremblay, Cloutier, Simard, Chenevert, & Vandenberghe, 2010).
Research shows that while it can take a considerable time to build
trust, trust can be quickly eroded in employeeemployer relationships
(Robinson, 1996). This realization has spurred increasing research in-
terest in trust repair (see, e.g., Mishra & Spreitzer, 1998; Mishra &
Mishra, 1994; Gillespie & Dietz, 2009). Previous journal special issues,
such as the Academy of Management Review Special Issues in 1998,
(Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt, & Camerer, 1998) and 2009 (Dirks, Lewicki, &
Zaheer, 2009), the Organization Studies Special Issue in 2015 (Bach-
mann, Gillespie, & Priem, 2015), as well as reviews on trust repair
(Bozic, 2017; Burke, Sims, Lazzara, & Salas, 2007; Fulmer & Gelfand,
2012; Gillespie & Siebert, 2018; Kramer & Lewicki, 2010; Lewicki &
Brinseld, 2017) illustrate the increased academic interest in this topic
over the past two decades.
Researchers have investigated organizational trust repair empirically
at the interpersonal and group levels (Bachmann et al., 2015; Lewicki &
Brinseld, 2017; Gillespie & Siebert, 2018), from the perspective of a
number of different trustor viewpoints (e.g., those of employee, leader,
customer, citizen, and negotiator) and in a number of trust referents
(Fulmer & Gelfand, 2012) including leader failure in the context of
dyadic leaderfollower relationships (Haesevoets et al., 2015); customer
trust in high-risk products after negative publicity (Ting, Guicheng, &
Yanting, 2014); public trust in organizations (Poppo & Schepker, 2010);
senior managersattempts to rebuild employee trust (Pate et al., 2012);
and the use of nancial compensation in the aftermath of distributive
* Corresponding authors.
E-mail address: tiina.kahkonen@student.lut. (T. K¨
ahk¨
onen).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Journal of Business Research
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jbusres
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2021.03.019
Received 14 October 2020; Received in revised form 8 March 2021; Accepted 12 March 2021
Journal of Business Research 130 (2021) 98–109
99
harm between two parties (Desmet, De Cremer, & van Dijk, 2011). The
focus of this article is on trust repair from the employee perspective.
Given the increasing challenges to building and maintaining
employee trust in the contemporary work and organizing context, a
systematic review of the literature seems warranted because it is
important to develop a cumulative knowledge base from which to
inform future research and practice on employee trust repair. In this
paper, we conducted a systematic review of empirical research pub-
lished over the past 20 years in peer-reviewed journals to analyse the
state of the art in the eld and propose a future research agenda. We also
provide research insights for managers and human resources
practitioners.
In comparison to earlier reviews on trust repair, we adopt a multi-
level and multi-referent framework as outlined by Fulmer and Gelfand
(2012), investigating employee trust repair at individual, group and
organizational levels (Bachmann & Inkpen, 2011; Barber, 1983; Gilles-
pie & Dietz, 2009). This is important because employee trust is inu-
enced by various social and impersonal referents at different levels of
analysis (see Fulmer & Gelfand, 2012; Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Gillespie
& Siebert, 2018). For example, employees can be informed about an
organizations trustworthiness based on their interpersonal relation-
ships with other individuals and groups, or information about the
organizational structures, processes, and culture. The review in the
current research focuses on the employee perspective, rather than those
of external stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, shareholders, or
regulators (see Gillespie & Siebert, 2018).
By synthesizing research ndings on employee trust repair, and
analysing the commonalities and differences in the ndings across
organizational levels and referents, we aim to improve the conceptual-
ization of employee trust repair, as well as to identify the most
commonly studied trust repair mechanisms and their effectiveness. We
propose that early use of trust repair strategies in response to small vi-
olations, is likely to prevent those violations escalating into larger vio-
lations, and hence, enhances the efciency and effectiveness of trust
repair with employees. We also believe it would be useful to study
various active trust repair practices and their effects on preserving and
repairing employee trust. We begin our review by describing the key
concepts and approaches used in research on organizational trust repair.
We then specify our literature selection process, present the ndings of
our review, and nally discuss the implications of our review for
research and practice and identify promising areas of further research.
2. Theoretical background
2.1. Conceptualization of organizational trust
Trust denitions vary according to disciplinary backgrounds and
research context (Blomqvist, 1997; Castaldo, Premazzi, & Zerbini,
2010). One of the most widely accepted denitions of trust in the
management literature, which is based on a cross-disciplinary review, is
‘a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability
based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behaviour of
another(Rousseau et al., 1998: 395). This denition is also commonly
used for organizational trust (e.g., Lewicki & Brinseld, 2017), and, in
our study, we applied this denition when we investigated employee
trust at the individual, team/group, and organizational levels of analysis
(Fulmer & Gelfand, 2012).
Rousseaus denitions of positive expectations are typically captured
by the three dimensions of trustworthiness identied by the seminal
work of Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman (1995), namely: ability (or
competence), benevolence, and integrity. At the organizational level,
these dimensions mean that employees assessments of their organiza-
tions trustworthiness are based on the organizations competencies, for
example, to meet its goals and responsibilities, how the organization
takes care of the well-being of its employees, and how committed the
organization is to following moral principles such as honesty and
fairness (Gillespie & Dietz, 2009). Similarly, individuals and team
members within an organization evaluate the trustworthiness of the
other party (individual, team and organization) by paying attention to
their competence, goodwill and honesty. This ts our focus on trust
repair as Mayer et al. (1995) propose that trust is compromised when
one party feels their expectations of the other partys trustworthiness
have not been met, and such breach of trust has negative consequences
for the continuation of the relationship. Accordingly, the employees
future-oriented expectations are a focal element in our review (see also
Gillespie & Siebert, 2018). In line with Gillespie and Dietz (2009), we
view employees perceptions of their organizations trustworthiness as
capable of being inuenced by multiple sources of evidence and actors
operating at different organizational levels.
2.2. Employee trust repair
Both conceptual and empirical research indicate that trust in work
relationships can be repaired (e.g., Dirks et al., 2009; Gillespie & Dietz,
2009), although this process is not always easy (e.g., Bottom, Gibson,
Daniels, & Murnighan, 2002). Lewicki and Brinseld (2017) propose
that repaired trust is structurally different from the pre-violation or
pristine trust (Dirks et al., 2009; Lewicki & Bunker, 1996), and that, in
some circumstances, no trust repair initiatives will be capable of fully
restoring trust to its original level (Lewicki, McAllister, & Bies, 1998).
As with the concept of trust itself, prior research has also dened
trust repair in several forms. At the organization level, Gillespie and
Dietz (2009: 128) dene organizational trust repair as ‘employees
perceptions of the trustworthiness of their organization and the pro-
cesses required for repairing these perceptions once they are damaged
by an organization-level failure. Also Dirks et al. (2009: 69) indicate
that, ‘relationship repair occurs when a transgression causes the positive
state(s) that constitute(s) the relationship to disappear and/or negative
states to arise, as perceived by one or both parties, and activities by one
or both parties substantively return the relationship to a positive state.
These denitions of organizational and relationship repair can help
understand employee trust repair.
Research reveals that when employee trust is damaged, employees
become unwilling to apply trust-based behaviours promoting effective
functional activities such as cooperation, discretionary effort, knowl-
edge sharing, and effective problem solving. In addition, violators(e.g.
employers) future intentions may be unclear to employee and cause
uncertainty (Dirks & Ferrin, 2001; Fulmer & Gelfand, 2012). Trust vi-
olations may also lead to a variety of retaliatory actions on the part of
employees such as sabotage, theft, spreading rumours, and poor
commitment to work in general (Bies & Tripp, 1996; Robinson, 1996),
and escalate the breakdown of internal and external relationships (Gil-
lespie & Dietz, 2009) critically affecting the organizations performance
(Andiappan & Trevi˜
no, 2010). Thus, trust repair involves improving
both trusting intentions and re-establishing trusting behaviour. Building
on Bromiley and Cummings (1995) and Mcknight, Cummings, and
Chervany (1998; see also Vidotto, Massidda, Noventa, & Vicentini,
2012) we dene trusting intentions as a solid willingness to depend
upon the trustee to induce trusting behaviours. Whereas the trusting
behaviours are the concrete actions demonstrating that a trustor relies a
trustee without control.
Much of the research on trust repair has taken a contingency
approach in that it studies how the nature of trust violation affects trust
and trust repair (e.g., Grover et al., 2014; Kim, 2018; Sørensen et al.,
2011). In this study the nature of trust violations has been distinguished
based on the dimension of trustworthiness breached (e.g., was it a
violation of ability, benevolence, or integrity). Recently researchers
have increasingly paid attention to the effectiveness of trust-repair tac-
tics and learned that, for example, the most suitable trust-repair tactic
after an ability-based violation would not necessarily be effective for
repairing trust following an integrity-based violation (see e.g., Grover
et al., 2014; Sørensen et al., 2011).
T. K¨
ahk¨
onen et al.
Journal of Business Research 130 (2021) 98–109
100
The escalating and systemic nature of trust (Gillespie & Dietz, 2009)
highlights the importance of studying trust repair from a multilevel and
cross-level perspective. To advance both research and the practice of
trust repair, it is important to understand if there are divergent or
potentially common underlying principles and processes of trust repair
across levels of analysis and interpersonal referents of trust. To explore
these questions, and to ensure the current review is as comprehensive as
possible, we focus on empirical research examining employee trust
repair at three levelsindividual, team, and organizationaland in
multiple interpersonal referents (peers, supervisors, managers). It is also
important to note that employee trust includes not only interpersonal
referents but also impersonal referents, such as organizational structures
and processes (on impersonal organizational trust, see e.g., Vanhala,
Puumalainen, & Blomqvist, 2011). Hence, there is a need to understand
trust repair strategies and principles that are effective in repairing trust
as a multi-dimensional concept, at multiple organizational levels, and in
various referents of trust.
2.3. Theoretical approaches on trust repair
The early literature on trust repair rst emphasized process models
illustrating the phases required for trust repair. Subsequent work has
rened these models and conceptualized broader theoretical approaches
to explaining and mechanisms for undertaking the repair of damaged
trust.
In their early seminal paper, Lewicki and Bunker (1996) proposed a
model of how trust is developed and repaired in work relationships.
Their inuential four-stage process model for trust repair includes the
following stages: 1) recognizing the violation, 2) identifying the causes
of violations and admitting culpability, 3) admitting that the act was
destructive and 4) taking responsibility for the consequences. Later,
Gillespie and Dietz (2009) took a systems perspective to propose a sys-
temic, multilevel framework for understanding strategies to repair em-
ployees trust in their employing organization after an organizational
violation. They proposed four stages: 1) immediate response with verbal
responses and actions, 2) diagnosis of the systemic causes of the trust
failure, 3) reforming interventions across the organizations infrastruc-
ture to ensure a repeat future trust violation would not occur, and 4)
evaluation of the effectiveness of the reforms. In contrast to Lewicki and
Bunker (1996) dyadic view on trust breakdown and repair in interper-
sonal relationships, Gillespie and Dietz (2009) propose that the causes of
and those responsible for an organizational-level failure are often un-
clear, and such failures require the input of several actors. They theorize
how different internal and external components shape employeesper-
ceptions of the organizations trustworthiness and can subsequently
contribute to trust failures and effective trust repair (Gillespie & Dietz,
2009).
2.4. Theoretical principles and mechanisms explaining trust repair
Dirks et al. (2009) developed a process model for trust repair that
emphasized the temporal nature of the process, distinguishing between:
1) pre-transgression and the state of trust prior to a transgression, 2)
disruption, identifying what factors are changed by the transgression
and how, 3) trust repair, identifying what actions are taken to repair
violated factors, and 4) post-repair, identifying the state of trust after
repair. They further identied three key theoretical mechanisms un-
derlying relationship repair: 1) attributional, 2) structural, and 3) social-
equilibrium perspectives (Dirks et al., 2009). The attributional mecha-
nism draws on the principles of attribution theory (Heider, 1958) and
can be applied to different levels of analysis and when the violator is an
individual, a group, or an organization. From the perspective of attri-
bution theory, the trustor tries to explain the situation by using senti-
ments, motives, and external factors and by changing attributions, the
violator seeks to re-cast understanding of the violation events to present
themselves in a more trustworthy light through tactics such as denials,
explanations and social accounts (Dirks et al., 2009; Tomlinson &
Mayer, 2009). Second, the social-equilibrium perspective is suited to
addressing negative affect and exchange, although it might indirectly
address the repair of trust (Ren & Gray, 2009). Social equilibrium in-
volves engaging in social rituals (e.g., apologizing, punishment and
penance, and offering compensation) to atone for the violation and
restore balance in the relationship and help to settle the account and re-
establish the expectations of the relationship after the violation (Dirks
et al., 2009). Third, from the structural perspective, trust violation leads
to a breakdown in positive exchange and increases negative exchange.
Therefore, trust is most effectively repaired when structural processes in
which negative exchange is discouraged and positive exchange is
encouraged are put in place (Dirks et al., 2009). Trust repair practices
include legalistic remedies such as policies, procedures, contracts, and
monitoring (Sitkin & Roth, 1993) that increase the reliability of future
behaviour and therefore advance the rebuilding of trust (Gillespie and
Dietz (2009) discuss a similar concept they term distrust regulation).
Building on and extending these three trust repair mechanisms,
Bachmann et al. (2015) suggested an integrative framework of six
mechanisms to repair trust among stakeholders after organizational and
institutional trust failures. The rst mechanism, sense-making (Weick,
1995), involves a collective learning process leading to a shared un-
derstanding and an accepted account of what went wrong and why.
Sense-making incorporates the attributional trust repair mechanism and
includes practices such as investigations, public inquiries, explanations,
and accounts. Second, the relational mechanism incorporates the social-
equilibrium approach and involves engaging in social rituals and sym-
bolic acts aimed at addressing the negative emotions caused by the
violation and re-establishing the social equilibrium between the parties
(Dirks et al., 2009). Relational trust repair strategies include for example
public explanations and apologies, punishment and penance, and also
the compensation of victims (Bachmann et al., 2015). The third mech-
anism is that of regulation and controls, which involves formal rules and
controls to constrain untrustworthy behaviour and prevent future trust
violation. This incorporates the structural mechanism and includes
practices such as laws, rules, policies, process and output controls,
contracts, codes of conduct and sanctions, which serve to deter or
constrain untrustworthy behaviour and/or incentivize trustworthy
behaviour (Dirks et al., 2009; Gillespie & Dietz, 2009).
In addition to these rst three mechanisms that overlap with the
three trust repair mechanisms identied by Dirks et al. (2009), Bach-
mann et al. also identied three additional trust repair mechanisms.
Ethical culture highlights that trust repair often requires informal cultural
controls to constrain untrustworthy behaviour and promote trustworthy
behaviour, rather than simply structural controls. Here organizational
leaders can repair trust and signal organizational trustworthiness by
developing and communicating a strong shared ethical culture. Trans-
parency, that is, sharing relevant information about organizational de-
cision processes and functioning with stakeholders, can also function as
a mechanism to help restore trust. Transparent organizations share ac-
curate, timely, relevant information in a way that allows stakeholders to
make informed decisions on their relationships with the organization.
Trust repair strategies include for example corporate reporting, external
audits, public inquiries and protection of whistle-blowers. The nal
mechanism, transference, facilitates trust repair by transferring trust
from a credible party to the discredited party. This concept encapsulates
various ways in which trust can be transferred from one actor or insti-
tution to another: for example, through practices such as certication,
membership, afliations, awards, and endorsements.
3. Methodology
A systematic review of literature is designed to be replicable and
transparent and provide a clear structure and approach to the literature
selection and review process (Traneld, Denyer, & Smart, 2003), and
accordingly we took a number of steps to ensure our review process was
T. K¨
ahk¨
onen et al.
Journal of Business Research 130 (2021) 98–109
101
replicable and transparent. We followed the systematic literature review
paper process published recently in the high-impact management jour-
nals on across research elds such as R&D internationalization and
innovation (Vrontis & Christo, 2019), service innovation (Snyder,
Witell, Gustafsson, Fombelle, & Kristensson, 2016) and mental illness in
the workplace (Follmer & Jones, 2018).
3.1. Conceptual boundaries
In order to set boundaries on review of trust repair literature, we
included the studies that examine: 1) employee trust repair in organi-
zational personal and impersonal relationships, 2) employee trust repair
in leaderfollower relationships, 3) employee trust repair in superior-
subordinates relationships, 4) employee trust repair in employee-
employee relationships, 5) employee trust repair within teams/groups,
and 6) employee trust repair between teams/groups. Thus, we examine
violatorsresponses and employee trust repair at: 1) individual, 2) team
or group, and 3) organizational levels. Studies focusing on trust repair
with organizationsexternal stakeholders such as customers, suppliers,
shareholders, or regulators are excluded (see Gillespie & Siebert, 2018).
3.2. Search protocol
3.2.1. Formulation of the research question
According to Nguyen et al. (2018) a high-level review is based on
clear research questions being developed at the start of the review
process. When developing our research question we focused on the
employee trust repair within organization. The research question was
formulated through dialogue between the authors and other academic
experts. Based on this question formulation process, the research ques-
tion in this paper is: ‘What repair mechanisms and responses were used
in different organizational levels in order to repair trust?
3.2.2. Inclusion and exclusion criteria
First, to be included, each research article had to meet our six in-
clusion criteria, namely: 1) offering empirical research providing evi-
dence on trust repair, 2) including an employee perspective on trust
repair or relationship repair, 3) conducted within the context of work or
an organizational context, 4) being peer reviewed, 5) being available in
English, and 6) located within the disciplines of business, management
and accounting, social sciences, and/or psychology. We searched for
literature published in the past two decades, from 2000 to 2020. We
excluded 1) non-empirical papers, 2) papers that represented only
external stakeholders (e.g., citizens, suppliers, customers, shareholders,
and regulators) without an employee perspective, and 3) papers on trust
repair between organizations. Papers were also excluded if it was un-
clear whether an employee perspective was included (e.g., experimental
designs where the stakeholder role of the respondent was not clear).
3.2.3. Search strategy and selection process of relevant articles
We followed the structured literature review process proposed by
Traneld et al. (2003) which involves ve stages and is shown in Fig. 1.
Each stage served to select relevant articles according to the pre-dened
criteria. In the rst stage, we conducted a search of the relevant data-
bases for literature published during the last two decades, the period
during which the large majority of empirical research on intra-
organizational trust repair has been conducted. To ensure a compre-
hensive search, we used two of the dominant databases in social sci-
ences, Web of Science and Scopus (Falagas, Pitsouni, Malietzis, &
Pappas, 2008). The search terms ‘trust AND repairOR ‘trust repairOR
‘trust AND rebuild*OR ‘trust rebuild* OR ‘trust AND restor*OR
‘relationship repairwere used. The search strings were targeted at
article titles, abstracts, and keywords. The rst search produced 1285
potentially relevant articles, a number reduced to 947 after removing
duplicates.
In the second stage of the literature selection process, 947 articles
were screened by title, keywords and abstract. 908 studies excluded
based on title, keywords and abstract review because it turned out that
they 1) were not empirical papers, 2) papers represented only external
stakeholders, 3) papers were without an employee perspective, or 4)
trust repairing was focused between the two organizations. In the third
stage 39 accepted papers were scanned, and articles that failed to meet
the inclusion criteria were eliminated. In this stage 13 studies excluded
based on full text review because papers did not include an employee
perspective on trust repair or because the context was of trust repair but
not within an organization.
In the fourth stage and after the full text examination, the number of
relevant articles was reduced to 26. Our last stage of the selection pro-
cess involved scanning the reference lists of the 26 accepted articles
(Wohlin, 2014) as well as seven conceptual and review papers on trust
repair (Bachmann et al., 2015; Dirks et al., 2009; Fulmer & Gelfand,
2012; Gillespie & Siebert, 2018; Kim, 2018; Kramer & Lewicki, 2010;
Lewicki & Brinseld, 2017), to locate additional suitable empirical
works. This snowballing method increased the accepted number of
relevant articles to 28 which was the nal sample. In order to avoid
possible selection bias, the screening and selection of the articles were
veried independently by two researchers.
4. Findings
We start with a description of the articles and then discuss different
types of trust repair responses and mechanisms. We then categorize past
empirical research on trust repair into different levels of analysis: at an
individual level, in groups and teams, and in organizations following
integrity-based, competence-based, and benevolence-based trust
violations.
Web of Science and Scopus
Total Articles found N=1285
(including duplicates)
947studies screened
(Title, Keywords and
Abstract review)
39 studies assested
(Full text review)
26 studies included
2studies included on
cross-referencing
28 articles
(final sample)
Qualitative synthesis
338duplicates removed
908studies excluded
based on title, keywords
and abstract review
13 studies excluded
based on full text
review
Fig.1. The systematic literature selection process.
T. K¨
ahk¨
onen et al.
Journal of Business Research 130 (2021) 98–109
102
4.1. Descriptive ndings
Table 1 shows that classic laboratory experiments are the methods
most often used to examine trust repair. Laboratory experiments were
used in the early years (20042009) especially among North American
scholars, when research on trust repair was still in its infancy. As the
eld matured, more qualitative studies emerged. The use of qualitative
studies is understandable because applying an experimental design to
trust repair beyond an individual referent of analysis can be challenging.
Qualitative studies are especially useful in studying processes like trust
repair and can provide rich empirical insights that can then guide
further experimental research. We found qualitative studies were uti-
lized in 32% of the articles reviewed. We also note that surveys (14%)
and a combination of surveys and laboratory experiments (4%) were
used to a lesser extent than laboratory experiments alone (50%).
Several of the selected articles were published in high quality jour-
nals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Human Resource Manage-
ment, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business Ethics,
Organization Studies and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision
Processes. These journals are presented on the current list of the top-tier
journals the Financial Times use for business school rankings.
4.2. Level of analysis and response types
In terms of the level of analysis most trust-repair studies (20) have
focused on the individual level (71%). Only ve papers (18%) examine
trust repair from the perspective of the team or group, and one of them
was a comparison between teams and individuals. Furthermore, of the
four papers that investigated trust at the organizational level (14%),
most also examined external stakeholderstrust in the organization (for
example, they dealt with catastrophes or scandals, such as oil spills,
fraud, or data manipulation). This is understandable as major catastro-
phes have wide-ranging effects that extend beyond those on employees.
The main trust repair mechanism (Relational approach, see Bachmann
et al., 2015) was applied in twenty-four papers (86%). The other applied
mechanisms were regulation and controls in ve papers (18%), ethical
culture in fourteen papers (50%) and sense-making in ve papers (18%).
We nd that most empirical research (82%) has focused on verbal trust
repair responses such as apology, denial, reticence, promise, explanation,
excuse, creating clear and explicit expectations, constructive voice,
resolving inconsistencies in speech, and emotional support. Substantive
responses are not only verbal but also concrete actions taken to remedy
damaged trust which often involve tangible elements. Substantive re-
sponses identied in our review included offering penance, nancial
compensation, open investigations, regulation, increasing the social
exchange quality by renegotiating the psychological contract, preven-
tive and repair actions focusing on increasing the social exchange
quality and accepting responsibility for actions. Substantive trust repair
responses have been studied less frequently than verbal responses and
their prevalence in our review was 36%. The third approach to trust
repair involves organizational reforms, which appeared in 18% of the
reviewed papers. They mostly focused on the need to repair leadership
and management practices (see Sørensen et al., 2011) and changing
organizational structures, policies, and processes (see Gillespie et al.,
2014). Organizational reforms identied in our review were for
example, replacing senior leaders, goal-oriented leadership, amend-
ments to organizational rules, and cultural reforms.
4.3. Qualitative meta-synthesis and integrated framework
In this section we synthesise ndings from the studies included in
this review into an integrated, multi-dimensional framework (Table 2).
Our aim is to better understand and explain phenomena related to the
present research topic. We look at selected studies in light of similarities
and differences to build a convincing overall picture of the topic (Walsh
& Downe, 2005). The framework integrates information derived from
our systematic review and our categorization of trust violations, trust
repair mechanisms, trust responses, moderators and contextual factors.
In the rst part of the framework, we explain reasons for the decline in
employee trust. All trust violations are categorized based on the level of
analysis they fall under. Next, we present the trust repair mechanisms,
trust repair practices and response types studied that were used in order
to repair employee trust after trust violations. Third, we integrate the
positive and negative moderators that may improve or diminish effec-
tiveness of trust repair. We also report the contextual dimensions that
extant literature has found and which affect trust repair. The developed
framework is dynamic and can be further expanded with new ndings,
serving as a theoretical basis to guide future research. We organize the
ndings regarding trust violations and trust repair mechanisms from
extant literature into three categories. The rst category, the individual
level, incorporates all ndings that relate to the individual level of
analysis. The other two categories, the team/group level of analysis and
organizational level of analysis, are treated in the same manner.
4.3.1. Repairing trust in individuals and leaders
We found that apologies were one of the most common forms of
verbal response at the individual level and were studied in some form in
each article either alone or in combination with another trust repair
strategy. Researchers have found that the effectiveness of apologies in
restoring trust often depended on different moderators and the context
(see Table 2).
In the hiring context, researchers found that repairing trust was more
successful when 1) the mistrusted parties apologized for violations
concerning ability but denied culpability for violations concerning
integrity (Kim et al., 2004), 2) mistrusted parties apologized for viola-
tions when there was subsequent evidence of guilt but denied culpability
Table 1
The research approach used and regional distribution in the sample.
Methodology (total
prevalence/%)
Author(s), year of
publication
Country
Laboratory
experiment (14/
50%)
Bagdasarov et al. (2019);
Henderson et al. (2020); Kim
et al. (2004, 2006, 2012);
Krylova et al. (2016); Lewicki,
et al. (2016); Schweitzer et al.
(2006)
United States
De Cremer (2010) Netherlands
Dirks et al. (2011); Ferrin et al.
(2007)
United States and
Singapore
Haesevoets et al. (2015) Belgium, Netherlands,
United Kingdom, and
United States
Maddux et al. (2011) Japan and United States
Monzani et al. (2015) Spain
Survey and laboratory
experiment (1/4%)
De Cremer and Schouten
(2008)
Netherlands, United
States
Survey (4/14%) Pate et al. (2012); Webber
et al. (2012)
United States
Elangovan et al. (2015) Austria, Germany
Grover et al. (2019) France
Qualitative case study
(3/11%)
Gillespie et al. (2014) United Kingdom
Goodstein et al. (2015) United States
Petriglieri (2015) United Kingdom,
United States
Qualitative grounded
theory approach (2/
7%)
Grover et al. (2014) France, New Zealand,
Germany
Eberl et al. (2015) Germany
Qualitative
illustration (1/4%)
Six and Skinner (2010) Netherlands
Longitudinal
multimethod case
study (1/4%)
Sørensen et al. (2011) Denmark
Longitudinal
qualitative study
(2/7%)
Holten et al. (2016) United States, Denmark,
Sweden
Sverdrup and Stensaker
(2018)
Norway
T. K¨
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103
Table 2
Integrative framework.
1. Individual level (prevalence in the sample 20/71%)*
Author(s) and year Reason for the decline
in trust (freq)
Violated
dimension of
trustworthiness
Trust repair
mechanism
Bachmann et al.,
(2015)
Trust repair response used
(response type)
Moderators/variables that can
affect efciency of trust repair (+
positive effects, - negative effects)
Ferrin et al. (2007);
Kim et al. (2004);
(2006; 2012;));
Krylova et al.
(2016); Maddux
et al. (2011)
Employeesprevious
errors in the hiring
context (6)
Ability, integrity Social relations Apology, denial, reticence, excuse
(verbal), accepting responsibility
(substantive)
Prior wrong doing (-), guilty (-) or not
(+), apology after competence (+) or
integrity-based violation (-),
repentance (+) or indifference (-),
cultural differences: relevant (+) or
insignicant (-) apology, repairing
trust with groups (-) or individuals
(+), accepting responsibility (+) or
excuse-making and denial (-)
De Cremer and
Schouten, (2008)
Disrespectful behavior
even when presented
with an apology (1)
Benevolence,
integrity
Social relations Apology (verbal) Respectful (+) or disrespectful (-)
behaviour
Schweitzer et al.,
(2006)
Untrustworthy actions
and deception (1)
Integrity Social relations Apology, promises (verbal) Series of trustworthy actions used
(+) or not used (-), prior (-) or no
prior deceptions (+), trust never fully
recovers (-)
De Cremer (2010);
Lewicki et al. (2016)
Violations in negotiation
context (2)
Ability,
benevolence,
integrity
Social relations Apology (verbal), nancial
compensations (substantive)
Losses (-) or gains (+) in bargaining,
apologies with more components (+)
or with fewer components (-),
apologies following competence-
based trust violations (+) or
apologies following integrity-based
violations (-)
Six and Skinner
(2010); Dirks et al.
(2011)
Troubles between two
employees (2)
Ability, integrity Social relations,
regulation and
controls
Apology (verbal), penance,
regulation (substantive)
Clear (+) or unclear (-) expectations,
positive (+) or negative (-)
interactions by both individuals,
perceived repentance (+) or no any
repentances (-)
Bagdasarov et al.
(2019); Grover et al.
(2014, 2019);
Haesevoets et al.
(2015); Monzani
et al. (2015)
Managers violations and
weaknesses in decision-
making and goal-setting
(5)
Ability,
benevolence,
integrity
Social relations,
ethical culture
Apology, denial, emotional support
(verbal)
Intentional (-) or unintentional (+)
violation, serious (-) or minor (+)
violation, remedies implemented (+)
or not implemented (-), timely (+) or
delayed (-) apology, followers
emotional competencies are high (+)
or low (-), mistrusted partys
empathy (+) or absence of empathy
(-).
Elangovan et al.
(2015); Goodstein
et al. (2015); Holten
et al. (2016)
Various internal
disturbances (3)
Ability,
benevolence,
integrity
Social relations,
ethical culture,
sense-making
Increasing the social exchange
quality, penance (substantive),
explanations, apology (verbal)
Remedies implemented (+) or not
implemented (-), ability (+) or
inability (-) to forgive , motivation of
violatorsto repair trust is high (+) or
low (-), quality of social exchange is
high (+) or weak (-), guilty (-) or not
(+), strong (+) or weak (-)
communications and other personnel
skills, nancial (+) or non-nancial
(-) responses
2. Team/group level (prevalence in the sample 5/18%)*
Sørensen et al. (2011);
Sverdrup and
Stensaker (2018)
Organizational change
(2)
Ability,
benevolence,
integrity
Ethical culture Strong management actions
(organizational reforms),
increasing the social exchange
quality (substantive)
Active attempts to protect trust (+)
or low trust turns into distrust (-),
successful (+) or failed (-) change
management
Kim et al. (2012) Employeesprevious
errors in the hiring
context (1)
Ability, integrity Social relations Apology, denial (verbal) Competence-based violation (+),
integrity-based violation (-),
repairing trust with individual (+) or
groups (-)
Pate et al. (2012) The founding principle of
respect had been
contravened in an
organization (bullying,
harassment) (1)
Ability,
benevolence,
integrity
Ethical culture Strong management actions
(organizational reform), emotional
support for employees (verbal)
Strong (+) or weak (-)
communications and other personnel
skills, emotional intelligence strong
(+) or weak (-)
Webber et al. (2012) The lack of support (1) Ability Ethical culture Emotional support for employees
(verbal)
Perceived repentance (+) or no any
repentances (-)
3. Organizational level (prevalence in the sample 4/14%)
Eberl et al. (2015);
Gillespie et al.
(2014)
Fraud, data manipulation
and corruption scandals
(2)
Integrity Social relations,
regulation and
controls, ethical
culture, sense-
making
Explanations, apologies (verbal),
penance, investigations
(substantive), systemic reforms,
cultural reforms, replacing senior
leaders, organizational rule
Procedural modications (+), new
rules were difcult to implement in
practice (-), number of trust remedies
used is high (+) or low (-)
(continued on next page)
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104
for violations when there was subsequent evidence for innocence (Kim
et al., 2004), and, 3) job applicants apologized for their past wrongdoing
and accepted responsibility instead of attempting to make excuses for or
deny their past behaviour (Krylova et al., 2016). In a hiring context, on
the contrary, researchers found that the apology was not always effec-
tive for trust repair. For example: 1) In some cultures an apology was
regarded as cheap talk, while in others it implied guilt (Maddux et al.,
2011). 2) After an integrity-based violation, reticence was a suboptimal
response because, like apology, it failed to address guilt, and after a
competence-based violation, it was a suboptimal response because, like
denial, it failed to signal atonement (Ferrin et al., 2007). 3) Being guilty
of an integrity-based violation could be so detrimental to trust that there
was no response at all capable of mitigating the damage caused (Kim
et al., 2006).
De Cremer and Schouten (2008) found that the tone of the apology
matters too, and that after an individual employees benevolence-based
and integrity-based trust violations (disrespectful behaviour), apologies
enhanced perceptions of fairness only when the authority was perceived
as respectful. Later, De Cremer (2010) studied the effect of apologies
versus offers of nancial compensation in a bargaining context and
found that apologies can have positive effects on trust behaviour after a
transgression has occurred but that effects depended on moderators
(losses or gains in bargaining). However, similarly in a bargaining
context, Lewicki et al. (2016) proposed that especially after an integrity-
based trust violation, a mere apology is not likely to be sufcient to
repair trust but would require more tangible methods.
In leaderfollower relationships, researchers have found: 1) After
leadersinadequate or incorrect decisions, when a long time has already
passed, followers express the greatest need for an apology, but, at the
same time, expect an apology to be less effective at enhancing trust-
worthiness than when one is offered in a timely manner (Haesevoets
et al., 2015). 2) In the recovery process, leaders must rst openly discuss
the violation(s), apologize and demonstrate support for followers, but
similar to Kim et al.s (2006) proposal, some trust violations destroyed
trust to such a degree that it cannot be restored and cause followers to
withdraw from the relationship (Grover et al., 2014). 3) The effective-
ness of apologies depends on the leadersintentionality and the severity
of the consequences of the violation of trust. Moderate combinations of
severity and intentionality accommodate a greater likelihood of
forgiveness compared to mild or intense violations (Grover et al., 2019).
4) When violations are of a personal nature, apologies and empathy
demonstrated by the mistrusted party aid the repair of trust more
effectively than if there is no evidence of empathy and, when coupled
with a denial of culpability, produce markedly increased perceptions of
the violators integrity (Bagdasarov et al., 2019). 5) Followers
emotional competencies have largely positive effects on followerstrust
in leadership, and only setting goals in a directive way compensates low
levels of followersemotional clarity and repair (Monzani et al., 2015).
6) Apologies with explanations by the trustee signicantly reduced the
erosion of trust compared to efforts that did not employ such behaviours.
Erosion of trust was minimized when the trustee engaged in more trust
repair behaviour (Elangovan et al., 2015).
In bilateral relationships, researchers have found: 1) Clear and
explicit expectations and constructive voices by both parties help repair
trust when troubles arise between two employees (Six and Skinner,
2010). 2) Penance and regulation can be effective to the extent that they
elicit the crucial mediating cognition of perceived repentance (Dirks
et al., 2011). 3) Specic preventive and repair actions focusing on
increasing the quality of social exchanges could offer a remedy for trust
violations (Holten et al., 2016). 4) Promises to change behaviour can
signicantly speed the trust recovery process (Schweitzer et al., 2006).
5) Moderators such as communications skills and the response type
(nancial/nonnancial responses) affect trust repairing (Goodstein
et al., 2015). Schweitzer et al. (2006) noted that prior deception hinders
the effectiveness of a promise in accelerating trust recovery. They also
argued that trust never fully recovers, even when deceived participants
receive a promise or an apology, if promises made by a violator are not
kept and trust harmed again with the same untrustworthy actions and
deception as before.
The above review reveals that, at the individual level, by far the most
commonly studied trust-repair strategies are verbal responses, especially
apologies. Studies conducted outside of laboratory contexts are needed
and future research should examine trust repair with eld studies and
sampling of the real working environment. Future investigations should
also examine trust repair tactics other than apologies. A mere apology is
often not effective, at least on its own, to repair trust and can be expe-
rienced as cheap talk. For example, Krylova et al. (2016) found sub-
stantive responses to be more effective than verbal ones. In terms of
verbal responses, the ndings indicate that the type of apology plays a
role in the success of trust repairing, and some components of an apol-
ogy are particularly important, for example, an acknowledgement of
responsibility. Thus, more concrete trust repair strategies than an
apology are required at the individual level. In future studies, there is a
need to focus on moderators and contextual variables that may improve
the effectiveness of the trust repair practices used.
4.3.2. Repairing trust in groups and teams
Kim et al. (2012) investigated trust repair in the work group context
and found that it is not sensible to deny guilt especially after a
competence-based trust violation. Both groups and individuals were less
trusting when trustees denied culpability for a competence-based
violation rather than apologized for it. Importantly, Kim et al. (2012)
found that repairing trust is usually more difcult with groups than with
individuals because groups can share their opinions in a way that can
further reinforce negative feelings.
Webber et al. (2012) investigated the lack of top management sup-
port for the group of managers (34 supervisory managers and 8
department directors) in the hotel industry. Their results demonstrate
that after competence-based trust violations, perceived organizational
support was signicantly and positively related to trust in top man-
agement. Similarly, Pate et al. (2012) found that after employees
perceived bullying and harassment, a senior management groups sup-
port provided to employee had a signicant effect on trust. Further, Pate
et al. (2012) found that strong management actions demonstrating
integrity, competence, consistency, loyalty, openness, and respect had
positive trust outcomes on employee loyalty, benevolence and openness
and thus, improved employee trust in management in the trust dimen-
sion of benevolence, but no signicant changes found in other trust di-
mensions (ability and integrity).
In the context of strategic change Sverdrup and Stensaker (2018)
Table 2 (continued )
adjustments (organizational
reforms)
Petriglieri (2015) Oil rig explosion and spill
(1)
Ability Social relations Co-created positive social
information (verbal)
Positive (+) or negative (-) attitudes
Henderson et al.
(2020)
Psychological contract
breach in the employer-
employee relationship (1)
No specications Social relations,
regulation and
controls
Penance (substantive), denial,
apology, excuse (verbal)
Repentance (+) or indifference (-),
denial (-) or granting with apology
(+)
*) Kim et al. (2012) Both, individual and team levels
are involved
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105
proposed that the trust restoration process is a three-stage process
consisting of (1) restoring reciprocity, (2) renegotiating the trans-
actional terms of the psychological contract, and (3) extending the
psychological contract to include relational terms. In the organizational
change context, similarly than Pate et al. (2012) in the bullying context,
Sørensen et al., (2011) found that strong management actions conveying
integrity, competence, and benevolence can rebuild trust in such
situations.
Current research on trust repair in groups suggests that verbal re-
sponses such as apology and denial, and organizational reforms such as
strong management actions can rebuild trust at the group level. How-
ever, repairing trust in groups is more challenging than repairing indi-
vidual trust, and thus a combination of trust repair mechanisms could be
a useful approach. Overall, much more research is needed at the team
level and e.g. Sørensen et al., (2011) found that more qualitative trust
repair studies are needed in the change context in particular for un-
derstanding the process of distrust and the possible means of breaking
the negative cycle it creates. In conclusion, similarly to the individual
level, team level studies also need to focus on moderators and contextual
variables that may underpin the effectiveness of trust repair practices
used.
4.3.3. Repairing trust in organizations
Particularly at the organizational level, effective trust repair seems to
require a move beyond verbal responses to substantive responses and
perhaps even organizational reform. There is also an interesting dyadic
perspective that may warrant research attention. Petriglieri (2015)
examined during and after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion and
spill whether and how the relationship between an organization and its
executives can be repaired once damaged. She found that the incident
destabilized executivesorganizational identication, leading them to
doubt the alignment between their own identity and organization, and
generated feelings of ambivalence toward the organization and their
role in it. Executives resolve their ambivalence only when active co-
creation takes place between executives and the organization. Co-
created positive social information was key mechanism to resolving
executivesambivalence and destabilized identication.
Gillespie et al. (2014) found that verbal, substantive and organiza-
tional reforms played an important role in organizational trust repair
after an integrity violation. The case studies conducted by Gillespie et al.
(2014) suggest that after large-scale scandals, such as fraud and data
manipulation, substantive trust repair, for example, open investigations
and penance, and combining multiple and concrete trust-repair rem-
edies can deliver the optimal trust outcomes. The study further high-
lighted that even if the focus is on organizational reforms in trust repair,
verbal and substantive responses are also required to restore trust. The
study contributes seven trust-repair practices including open in-
vestigations, accurate explanations, apologies, penance, replacing se-
nior leaders, systemic reforms and cultural reforms. Finally, Gillespie
and colleagues note that trust violations related to fraud and data
manipulation affect the functioning of an organization in a systemic way
that also undermines external stakeholderstrust in the organization.
Eberl et al. (2015) studied a corruption scandal and conrmed the
need to rebuild trust by reorganizing organizational structures, policies,
and processes. The study found that following integrity violations
organizational rules adjustments are an appropriate signal for external
stakeholders despite the fact that for employees the rule adjustments
were a source of dissatisfaction because they were often difcult to
implement. Eberl et al. (2015) contribute particularly to research on
trust repair by paying attention to an effective interplay between formal
and informal rules in order to safeguard and repair trust and satisfaction
among both employees and external stakeholders.
Henderson et al. (2020) studied psychological contract breach in the
employeremployee relationship by investigating six general repair
tactics (full penance, partial penance, denial, apology, excuses, a com-
bined apology/excuse) in terms of whether they improve trust and
diminish the negative emotions following a breach. The study concluded
that in breaches of trust, all ve other tactics than denial, are capable of
repairing trust. Similarly to what Kim et al. (2006) and Grover et al.
(2014) proposed at the individual level, Henderson et al. (2020) argued
that at the organizational level avoiding breach altogether would be
optimal as even after a repair tactic was used, trust did not return to its
pre-breach level.
Furthermore, organizations external reputation and image also
often require restorative treatment after violations by organization or
line management. Among other things, employees may worry about
their employers ability to continue employing them if the organization
acquires a poor reputation among the public. Therefore, after an
organizational-level violation, an apology is unlikely to be sufcient (see
also De Cremer and Schouten, 2008 at the individual level) and more
rigorous and holistic ways to repair trust that take all levels of the or-
ganization into account are likely to be required. We conclude that at the
organizational level, there are multiple trust-repair strategies capable of
restoring trust. Most effective trust repair mechanisms combine informal
and formal, verbal and substantive practices and confer agency to both
the trustee and the trustor.
5. Discussion
We organized our review based on the multilevel approach to
organizational trust (Fulmer & Gelfand, 2012). Based on the framework
presented in Table 2, we offer a critical analysis of the trust-repair
mechanisms and responses used within organizations to enable future
scholars clarify the various trust-repair responses and their effectiveness
at different organization levels. Next, we discuss the state-of-the art in
empirical research on employee trust repair to provide a point of de-
parture for future research. Further, we highlight promising new
research avenues and discuss the managerial implications for HR and
management involved in the everyday practice of work and organizing.
5.1. State-of-the art and point of departure for research on employee trust
repair
The largest number of empirical studies on trust repair have focused
on the individual level. Most of those studies highlighted integrity-based
and competence-based violations (e.g., Kim et al., 2004; 2006), with
fewer addressing benevolence-based trust violations (e.g., Goodstein
et al., 2015). At the team level, trust repair practices were studied mostly
following competence-based violations (e.g., Webber et al., 2012). It
seems that both integrity-based and benevolence-based trust violations
are still under-researched (Pate et al., 2012). Interestingly, at the orga-
nizational level, there are more trust repair studies focusing on integrity-
based trust violations (e.g., Gillespie et al., 2014) but far less research on
employee trust repair after competence-based and benevolence-based
trust violations. Benevolence and competence are typically personal
attributes. If there is an erosion of trust in bilateral interactions, it does
not necessarily undermine trust in the whole organization. However, as
Petriglieri (2015) suggests, competence-based and benevolence-based
trust violations by management might also erode employee trust in
the organization. We also noticed that research on the processes of trust
violations and repair (Dirks et al., 2009) is still relatively scarce.
5.2. Multilevel trust repair practices
The analysis we conducted reveals much of the past research on
organizational trust repair focused on a single level of analysis, even
though Dirks et al. (2009) highlighted the need for a multilevel approach
a decade ago. We propose that understanding how different types of
employee trust violations are linked to trust-repair actions merits further
examination, especially at the team and organizational levels. At the
individual level, it is important to note that forgiveness following a trust
violation depends on bilateral relations: that state encompasses how
T. K¨
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Journal of Business Research 130 (2021) 98–109
106
heartfelt the apology is and how receptive the trustor is to forgiving the
trustee and continuing the interaction (Kim, 2018). Past research also
suggests that individual and organizational trust repair practices such as
the repair of trust in top management requires complementary actions
and organizational support (Webber et al., 2012). As trust is a concept
that integrates micro- and meso-levels (psychological process and group
dynamics) with macro-level (organizational and institutional forms, see
e.g., Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Rousseau et al., 1998) access to various
repair strategies is necessary, because diverse violations and their effects
diffuse easily across levels. Therefore, trust repair between an employee
and a leader should be approached in the broader context of a group or a
team, and trust repair at the team level in the organizational context.
5.3. Towards more comprehensive trust repair practices
Past research shows the need to combine different types of trust
repair practices, for example, an apology with compensation (Dirks
et al., 2011; Lewicki et al., 2016). The most common practices applied to
advance trust repair are still verbal, such as apologies (Haesevoets et al.,
2015). However, empirical studies on employee trust repair suggest
substantive measures are also important, in this specic eld and
especially in the context of more severe trust violations (De Cremer,
2010; Gillespie et al., 2014). Substantive responses, such as nancial
compensation, provide an important signal of repentance and thereby
repair trust (Dirks et al., 2011; Gillespie et al., 2014; Gillespie & Siebert,
2018).
5.4. Early action to address common trust violations
A notable issue in past research on trust repair is also the focus on
catastrophes and scandals. Our research offers illustrative cases on trust
repair yet we want to emphasize that in the current dynamic and un-
predictable environment trust violations are becoming far more com-
mon, reported more frequently in the media and demanding frequent
attention from HR and the management of organizations. Instead of
major transgressions and failures of trust we propose that there may be
multiple little events and signals that may build up to undermine trust if
they are not carefully monitored, understood, and addressed.
There is evidently a need for future research to investigate strategies
for dealing with more mundane and smaller trust violations before they
escalate to become major trust transgressions; acting early to redress
transgressions also requires less costly and extensive measures. In par-
allel with the need for trust repair mechanisms to become more
comprehensive, and the need for ordinary management practices to deal
with potentially severe consequences, we advocate for trust repair to
focus on minor and potentially trust-harming issues.
5.5. Limitations
As in all research, there are limitations to our review. The rst lim-
itation concerns the choice of databases. The literature search was
conducted using the citation databases Web of Science and Scopus. This
choice of databases could be seen as a limitation, but according to
Falagas et al. (2008), Scopus and Web of Science provide accurate and
comprehensive documentation of high quality published academic
literature in social sciences. In reviewing articles, there is always the risk
that the selected keywords could have caused some potentially relevant
articles to have been omitted, although we did attempt to address the
issue by extending the search terms and including synonyms. The
exclusion phase based on titles, abstracts, and full texts followed care-
fully pre-set criteria, yet the researcherspersonal judgements might
also have been an inuence, although again we addressed the issue by
having two independent researchers verify candidate articles during the
selection process.
5.6. Further research directions
During the analysis of the review ndings we identied several
research gaps that provide fruitful research avenues for scholars to
further research. We classied research gaps as follows: 1) research
methods, data and sample, 2) contextual issues, and 3) moderators. The
latter two are the most important as they can play a crucial role in the
success of a trust repair.
5.6.1. Focus on research methods and data
Several researchers have proposed that there is a need for qualitative
eld studies and case studies on trust repair in different relationships
(see, e.g., Kim et al., 2004; Ferrin et al., 2007; Gillespie et al., 2014).
Qualitative research such as focus groups could provide an under-
standing of how employees perceive different trust repair practices in
various contexts, as well as offering a basis on which to build measures
for trust repair practices. It is not easy to explain the extent to which
trust violation affects trust, and which trust repair tactics are effective.
We agree with Gillespie et al.s (2014) proposal that a longitudinal
design using multiple methods to collect data would be especially
helpful in understanding the trust repair process because this approach
takes better into account the dynamic nature of trust and measures trust
at multiple points in time. We also suggest mixed designs that rst ac-
quire contextual understanding through qualitative research, then take
the knowledge to lab experiments to isolate the causal effect of specic
repair practices, and/or test qualitative insights through empirical eld
studies.
It is also clear that gaining timely access to organizations struggling
with trust repair issues can be challenging for researchers. For this
reason, experimental laboratory studies dominate early empirical
studies on trust repair (see, e.g., Ferrin et al., 2007), and data were often
collected from students. Given the contextualized nature of trust repair,
we suggest future research complement laboratory studies with eld
studies within organizations in which method and sampling are based on
the real working environment (Webber et al., 2012).
5.6.2. Focus on contextual issues
Researchers have proposed that more trust repair studies are needed
in the contexts of organizational change and negotiations (Lewicki et al.,
2016; Sørensen et al., 2011). Thus, we suggest that future research on
employee trust repair pay attention to various organizational changes.
There are already some studies on organizational changes and their
impact on employee trust (e.g., Sørensen et al., 2011; Saunders, Dietz, &
Thornhill, 2014), as well as some new investigations regarding trust
repair following negotiations in which negotiators do not keep their
promises (see, e.g., Lewicki et al., 2016). However, we currently have
little research to inform the understanding of employee trust repair in
the context of (and after) organizational change. In addition, change
processes often do not proceed as planned; for example, new technolo-
gies and organizational changes often affect employee work design, yet
we found no studies addressing this aspect of trust repair. Organizational
changes related to workplace automation can cause employees to
become wary and undermine their trust. Another timely issue is the lack
of transparency and questions related to bias when articial intelligence
is used in recruitment and HR processes. How can HR and management
repair employee trust in such increasingly common situations?
Organizational changes also often lead to restructuring and
employee layoffs. How does the repair of trust differ for those who keep
their jobs and those who lose them? Increasingly, organizations pursue
exibility and use temporary task forces and freelancers on short-term
contracts. How can an organizations positive image and trustworthi-
ness remain sufciently strong in the eyes of temporary workers to
ensure they are willing to return to the same employer in the future?
What combination of trust repair practices offers the best strategy to
repair trust in this context?
Technological change is not only impacting work design,
T. K¨
ahk¨
onen et al.
Journal of Business Research 130 (2021) 98–109
107
interpersonal interaction, and communication, but also transparency
and immediacy in communications. Organizational trust issues may
become public and transparent with a single post on social media by one
employee. This means that the time span for trust repairing actions can
reduce to hours instead of days or weeks. Future research and HR should
also consider how to observe levels of trust and related incidents closer
to real time, and what kind of trust repair practices can be launched
immediately? This eld of research could draw from crisis communi-
cations. Who are the organizations spokespersons, and what are the
messages? How can apologies be sincere, and what are the trust repair
actions following breaches of trust?
5.6.3. Focus on moderators
Researchers have suggested several moderators that should be
further explored. For example, Lewicki et al. (2016) called for more
information about whether the number of apology components depends
on other potential moderators, and Goodstein et al. (2015) proposed
more studies regarding the relationships between the severity of the
wrongdoing and the willingness to forgive. Dirks et al. (2011) proposed
that future research could consider whether and how penance and
regulation change when stronger emotion between parties is involved.
Also Schweitzer et al., (2006) and Dunn and Schweitzer (2005) have
emphasized the scarce research on the relationship between emotions
and trust in trust recovery. Similarly, Monzani et al. (2015) found that in
terms of trust formation, a leaders ability to understand and manage
others emotions elicits positive affective states in followers, which is
essential for the formation of trust in followers. However, researchers
have proposed that there is still a great need to further investigate the
role of emotions in the trust recovery process as well as the role of
emotional competencies and emotional intelligence in trust repair
(Monzani et al., 2015). We also believe that there is a great need for
future work investigating the impact of emotions on trust formation and
repair.
Another issue that is becoming pertinent is the impact of the macro
level and institutional trust outside the organization, that is, how macro-
level forces affect trust dynamics at the organizational level (Bachmann
et al., 2015; Gillespie & Dietz, 2009). There is already some evidence
that different external events and conditions affect employeeslevels of
trust even if there were no negative signs or trust breaches within or-
ganization. Technological change (e.g., automation and loss of jobs),
lack of industry renewal, lack of predictability in national politics, or
even pandemics, may inuence reducing employee trust within orga-
nizations. The role of the media in covering more negative and sensa-
tional news or even so-called fake news also has an impact on people,
whether in their private capacity or as employees.
We acknowledge the diversity of employees and their differing ac-
cess to information, power and vulnerabilities having a possible impact
on how they perceive and interpret breaches of trust and the repairing
mechanisms deployed. Further, we acknowledge that not only intra-
organizational, but also extra-organizational factors such as an organi-
zations reputation and institutions, such as regulation and control may
have an effect on the employees perception of organizational trust
(Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Gillespie & Siebert, 2018). Gillespie and Dietz
(2009) note that external governance such as laws, rules, regulations,
and public reputation can be critical to organizational trust. Compliance
with general rules and regulations, including ethical behaviour, reects
the reliability of the organization both within the organization and in to
external stakeholders.
Finally, recent discussion of stakeholder trust is highly relevant for
future academic and practical interest in employee trust repair. The
relationships between different organizational stakeholder groups (e.g.,
Bachmann et al., 2015) have an impact on employee trust repair: for
example, trust breaches among suppliers will become known and have
an effect on both buyersand suppliersemployees. Again, transparency
and interconnectedness mean that an organization must often consider
several stakeholder groups in their employee trust repair strategies.
5.7. Implications and conclusion
In this study, several trust repair practices are identied and syn-
thesized. Thus, we contribute to the trust repair literature, and we
believe that the synthesized information provided in this study together
with the integrative framework presented in Table 2 will be useful and
valuable for future researchers. Here in the context of employee trust
repair, we dene trust repair practices as active organizational and
managerial practices to repair employee trust. They are thus comparable
to HRM practices and focus on restoring employee positive perceptions
(Gillespie & Dietz, 2009) and expectations of the trustworthiness of the
organization, team, or an individual (see e.g., Gillespie & Siebert, 2018;
Kramer & Lewicki, 2010). Currently, researchers have measured levels
of trust pre- and post-violation, generally focusing on one or a few trust
repair practices through which, for example, actions/verbal statements
positively inuence trust levels or restore violated trust (Elangovan
et al., 2015; Haesevoets et al., 2015; Webber et al., 2012). We suggest
the need to develop a validated ‘trust repair practices scalein order to
measure the effectiveness of the trust repair practices identied and
synthesized in this study. This validated trust repair practices scale can
be used in further trust research and applied also by practitioners. Re-
searchers could also study the contingencies and how various trust
repair practices t different situations, comparable to research on HR
practices as bundles (see e.g., Guest, Conway, & Dewe, 2004; MacDufe,
1995). Researchers close collaboration with HR practitioners and
managers operating in the everyday context of work and organizing
could provide mutual benets in the form of data access and improving
practices to support the repair of employee trust.
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Tiina K¨
ahk¨
onen, MSc (Economics and Business Administration) is a researcher at the LUT
School of Business and Management, LUT University, Finland. Her research focuses on the
development, preservation, and repair of trust, particularly in challenging contexts such as
during and after organizational changes.
Kirsimarja Blomqvist is a Professor of Knowledge Management at the School of Business
and Management at LUT University, Finland. Her research focuses on trust, knowledge
management, collaborative innovation, digitalization, and new forms of organizing. Her
research articles have been published in the California Management Review, Scandinavian
Journal of Management, Creativity and Innovation Management, Research Policy, R&D
Management, Technovation, and Industrial Marketing Management. She is a founding and
board member for FINT, the First International Network for Trust researchers.
Nicole Gillespie is the KPMG Chair in Organizational Trust and Professor of Management
at the University of Queensland Business School, Australia, and International Research
Fellow at the Centre for Corporate Reputation, Oxford University. Her research focuses on
the development, preservation and repair of trust, particularly in challenging contexts
such as after trust failures and during organizational transformation and technological
disruption.
Mika Vanhala, DSc (Economics and Business Administration) is an Associate Professor of
Knowledge Management and Leadership at the LUT School of Business and Management,
LUT University, Finland and Post-doctoral Researcher, School of Business and Economics,
University of Jyv¨
askyl¨
a, Finland. His primary research interests are the relationship be-
tween HRM practices, organizational trust, and organizational performance and also in-
tellectual capital and knowledge management in value creation. His research has been
published, for example, in the Human Resource Management Journal, Journal of
Knowledge Management, Journal of Business Research, Personnel Review, and the Journal
of Managerial Psychology.
T. K¨
ahk¨
onen et al.
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... It is noticed that the trust level of employees decreased due to the uncertainties and unpredictable changes experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic (29). Further, they stated that organizations should focus on trust repair strategies for employees to cope with crises after the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
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... This trust, moreover, is characterised by a sense of vulnerability or risk resulting from employees' perceived uncertainty about the motives and prospective actions of the managers on whom they rely (Hu & Wang, 2014). This implies that while trust takes time to build, it can erode quickly if employees have doubts about the sincerity of managerial actions (Kähkönen et al., 2021). ...
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Periods of economic recession are typically accompanied by the use of cost-cutting actions, such as wage cuts or freezes, increased workloads and reduced training expenditures. While such actions are expected to boost performance, at least in the short-term, their effects on employee attitudes and behaviours at work have been the subject of much research. In this study, we examine how management's use of cost-cutting actions could have a detrimental impact on two aspects of the employment relations climate—the quality of employee–management relations and the level of employees’ trust in management; further, we investigate how these relationships might lead to an increase in employee complaints against their organisations. Using multilevel data from 21,981 employees in 1,923 workplaces, we show that the use of cost-cutting actions violates the psychological contract, which, in turn, contributes to strained relations between employees and management. However, in workplaces where employees are actively involved in decision-making, cost-cutting actions are less likely to have a negative impact. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our study using psychological contract theory.
... Informing can impact trust as the way that one interprets and makes sense of trust violations is directed by the information available (Vornik, Sharman, & Garry, 2003). Furthermore, informing can promote transparency which can increase trust and indeed act as a form of trust repair (Kähkönen, Blomqvist, Gillespie, & Vanhala, 2021). ...
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Robots like human co-workers can make mistakes violating a human’s trust in them. When mistakes happen, humans can see robots as less trustworthy which ultimately decreases their trust in them. Trust repair strategies can be employed to mitigate the negative impacts of these trust violations. Yet, it is not clear whether such strategies can fully repair trust nor how effective they are after repeated trust violations. To address these shortcomings, this study examined the impact of four distinct trust repair strategies: apologies, denials, explanations, and promises on overall trustworthiness and its sub-dimensions: ability, benevolence, and integrity after repeated trust violations. To accomplish this, a between-subjects experiment was conducted where participants worked with a robot co-worker to accomplish a task. The robot violated the participant’s trust and then provided a particular repair strategy. Results indicated that after repeated trust violations, none of the repair strategies ever fully repaired trustworthiness and two of its sub-dimensions: ability and integrity. In addition, after repeated interactions, apologies, explanations, and promises appeared to function similarly to one another, while denials were consistently the least effective at repairing trustworthiness and its sub-dimensions. In sum, this paper contributes to the literature on human–robot trust repair through both of these original findings.
... Informing can impact trust as the way that one interprets and makes sense of trust violations is directed by the information available [51]. Furthermore, informing can promote transparency which can increase trust and indeed act as a form of trust repair [52]. ...
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Robots like human co-workers can make mistakes violating a human's trust in them. When mistakes happen, humans can see robots as less trustworthy which ultimately decreases their trust in them. Trust repair strategies can be employed to mitigate the negative impacts of these trust violations. Yet, it is not clear whether such strategies can fully repair trust or how effective they are after repeated trust violations. To address these shortcomings, this study examined the impact of four distinct trust repair strategies: apologies, denials, explanations, and promises on overall trustworthiness and its sub-dimensions: ability, benevolence, and integrity after repeated trust violations. To accomplish this, a between-subjects experiment was conducted where participants worked with a robot co-worker to accomplish a task. The robot violated the participant's trust and then provided a particular repair strategy. Results indicated that after repeated trust violations, none of the repair strategies ever fully repaired trustworthiness and two of its sub-dimensions: ability and integrity. In addition, after repeated interactions, apologies, explanations, and promises appeared to function similarly to one another, while denials were consistently the least effective at repairing trustworthiness and its sub-dimensions. In sum, this paper contributes to the literature on human-robot trust repair through both of these original findings.
... They describe the construct of organizational trust as positive expectations individuals hold about the intent and behaviors of multiple organizational members based on experiences, organizational roles, relationships, and interdependencies (15). In recent years, trust has received considerable research attention in order to assure the success of organizations (16,17). Tabarsa et al. have shown that organizational justice is one of the factors positively con-tributing to the employees' confidence (18). ...
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Background: The organizational-citizenship behavior and organizational trust change the behaviors and attitudes and can also improve performance and efficiency among nurses as the team working incentives. Numerous environmental and occupational factors can affect the mentioned variables in employees but organizational justice, among other factors, exert a significant impact in this regard. Objectives: The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between perceived organizational justice with organizational-citizenship behavior and organizational trust among Iranian surgical technologists at Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) in 2021. Methods: In this descriptive-analytical and cross-sectional study, 183 surgical technologists of IUMS were investigated, and, therefore, the sampling method was census. Data collection tools were as follows: (1) Demographic characteristics questionnaire; (2) Niehoff and Moorman organizational justice questionnaire; (3) researcher-developed organizational-citizenship behavior scale; and (4) Gary A. Roeder Organizational Trust Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics (mean ± standard deviation; frequency and percentage), Pearson’s correlation coefficient, and multiple regression were performed to analyze the data by using SPSS software version 22. Results: Overall, the perceived organizational justice was poor, whereas the organizational-citizenship behavior and organizational trust were moderate. There was a positive and statistically significant correlation between organizational justice and citizenship-organizational behavior (r = 0.79), (P < 0.001). The same association was also observed between perceived organizational justice and organizational trust (r = 0.87), (P < 0.001). Moreover, 50% of the changes in perceived organizational justice, 67% in organizational trust, and 75% in organizational-citizenship behavior may have been explained and justified by demographic variables. Conclusions: It was concluded that citizenship-organizational behavior and organizational trust in surgical technologists may have been increased by taking appropriate interventions such as increasing the perception of organizational justice as well as improving the performance and quality of services in hospitals.
... In their meta-review, Kähkönen et al. (2021) describe trust as a triple-layered construct that combines psychological process and group dynamics with organizational actions at the macro-level. These authors suggest trust repair between employees and their leader-in our case, the academic and their head of department-should be considered in the broader context, i.e., as a group or a team, while trust repair at the collective level should be approached in an organizational context, i.e., between academics and the institution's senior leadership. ...
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This study examines the psychological contract between academics and their institutions during a time of great stress—the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that relationships between these parties have been found to be deteriorating prior to the pandemic, we believed it pertinent to explore how environmental changes brought about through lockdown conditions may have shifted the academic-institution relationship. Through a qualitative research design, our data is from 2029 women academics across 26 institutions of higher learning in South Africa. The major shifts in the psychological contract were found to be workload and pressure, provision of resources, top-down communication, as well as trust and support. Whilst these shifts altered the transactional and interactional nature of the psychological contract, violation, rather than breach, occurred since the emotional responses of participants point to incongruence or misalignment of expectations between academics and their institutions during this time of crisis. We offer recommendations for rebuilding trust and negotiating the psychological contract to re-engage academics in the institution.
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Sales managers need to maintain the trust of their salespeople to have productive working relationships. A positive and trusting working relationship can be threatened by a transgression on the part of the sales manager. An important challenge for sales managers concerns dealing with the aftermath of an error that damages the trust of a salesperson, especially when the error results in financial harm to that salesperson (e.g., unfair bonus/incentive allocation). A common restorative approach consists of the sales manager acknowledging the error and providing a financial compensation to the salesperson. Our study finds that instead of acknowledging the error, the sales manager should promise to make things right before providing financial compensation.
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Performance within Human-Autonomy Teams (HATs) is influenced by the effectiveness of communication between humans and robots. Communication is particularly important when robot teammates engage in behaviors that were not anticipated by the human teammate which could degrade trust. However, the literature on trust repair focuses on the role of apologies which may not be appropriate for an unexpected behavior since this behavior may not be an error. Explanations are one method that can be used by robot teammates to avoid costly trust degradation when human expectations are violated. The current study used an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) scenario to examine the role of explanation in a context wherein a robot teammate deviated from an expected behavior. The current study examined how trust, trustworthiness, and responsibility attribution were influenced by observing the robot teammate deviate from an expected behavior. Participants (N = 148) used an online platform to view videos of the robot: 1) following a planned search path, and 2) deviating from a planned search path. A debriefing event between the human and the robot followed each search activity. Four explanation conditions were tested in the debriefing phase following the behavioral violation. Results showed that trust and trustworthiness (ability, benevolence, and integrity) declined following the unexpected behavior. Accordingly, responsibility attribution shifted from the human to the robot following the unexpected behavior. Explanation strategies that focused on communicating why the event occurred by highlighting the robot's environmental awareness were most effective at buffering the decline in trust and trustworthiness.
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Software development requires software developers to share knowledge and solve problems together. Although researchers have considered the business and technical knowledge germane to performing software development tasks, empirical studies investigating business and technical advice networks on problem-solving competence is scarce. Using social network theory, we argue that software developers must be embedded for knowledge brokering within and across business and technical advice connectedness for improving problem-solving competence. Moreover we argue that contact quality matters in increasing or decreasing individual problem-solving competence. We present data collected via an online survey from 153 respondents in a professional software organisation. Our findings suggest that software developers who engage in knowledge brokering in business and technical advice connectedness will increase problem-solving competence in the software development effort. Our findings also reveal no significant effect of contact quality between these advice networks and problem-solving competence. We discuss our findings’ implications for theory and practice.
Chapter
Universities and institutions of higher education have been forced to move study and work activities remotely to contrast the spread of the pandemic due to Covid-19. Given the differences in roles, opportunities and operational functions of students, faculty members and university employees, it was deemed important to investigate whether any difficulties encountered in this condition of isolation may have led the three different groups to behave in an ethically inappropriate manner. To this end a questionnaire was developed and administered to a sample of 706 respondents, i.e. faculty members, students and technical and administrative staff. The study participants filled in a questionnaire aimed at investigating the operating conditions of working and studying at a distance, relating them to the perception of possible misbehavior by their own group and the other two subgroups. Results put in evidence that the three groups considered faced different difficulties that had different effects on perceptions in relation to the misconduct they experienced or perpetrated. Faculty appear to be essentially suffering from problems experienced even before the pandemic, such as an excess of competition that leads them to see their own colleagues as unfair. Students have less satisfactory housing conditions and demonstrate an awe of faculty that leads them to express less dissent when they witness misconduct. Technical and administrative staff appear disadvantaged in terms of technical tools and less equipped to process the negative feedback they receive about their work. However, they more than the other two groups are convinced that misbehaviors have decreased during home quarantine. On the contrary, faculty and students reported that misconduct have increased during the period of isolation.
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Pandemics have historically shaped the world of work in various ways. With COVID-19 presenting as a global pandemic, there is much speculation about the impact that this crisis will have for the future of work and for people working in organizations. In this article, we discuss 10 of the most relevant research and practice topics in the field of industrial and organizational (IO) psychology that will likely be impacted by COVID-19. For each of these topics, the pandemic crisis is creating new work-related challenges, but also presenting various opportunities. The topics discussed herein include occupational health and safety, work-family issues, telecommuting, virtual teamwork, job insecurity, precarious work, leadership, human resources policy, the aging workforce, and careers. This article sets the stage for further discussion of various ways in which IO psychology research and practice can address the impacts of COVID- 19 for work and organizational processes that are affecting workers now and will shape the future of work and organizations in both the short and long term. This article concludes by inviting IO psychology researchers and practitioners to address the challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 head-on by proactively innovating the work that we do in support of workers, organizations, and society as a whole.
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This study investigated ways an organization might mitigate the negative effects of psychological contract breach. Drawing on the trust repair literature and organizational justice theory, we examined six general repair tactics (i.e., full penance, partial penance, denials, apologies, excuses, and combined apology/excuse) in terms of whether they improve trust and diminish the negative emotions following a breach. Data were obtained via two experimental studies employing 918 participants, including both college students and working adults. All of the repair tactics were effective at enhancing trust and easing negative emotions, except for denying that the breach occurred. Full penance (i.e., offering full reparation) was the most effective, with the next best option depending upon what outcome was being addressed and the population studied. The type of contract and magnitude of breach did not play a significant role in the effectiveness of repair tactics. The results of this study show that companies can do something to “fix” breaches. We extend the trust repair research to the context of breach and show that the effectiveness of repair tactics differs across outcomes. Practically, based upon our results, we advise companies to use these repair tactics (except denial) when breaches occur. This study is the first to empirically examine how companies might address breaches to avoid their negative consequences. It is also among only a few studies on trust repair to include emotions, initial trust, more than three repair tactics, and a sample of working adults.
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Prior research on trust repair has focused primarily on investigating verbal responses to breaches of trust. Although consistently implicated in violations, the role of affect in the repair process has been mostly ignored. Using a scenario-based paradigm, we conducted an experimental study to examine the value of violator empathy, specific responses to an integrity-based violation (apology vs. denial), and nature of consequences (personal vs. organizational), as well as their interactive effects, on trust repair. Consequently, we sought to merge work on verbal responses with affect. Major findings indicated that presence of violator empathy functioned to repair trust better than its absence and, when coupled with a denial of culpability, produced markedly increased perceptions of violator’s integrity. These findings contribute to our understanding of how leaders influence followers through affect, informing both emotion and trust theory.
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Research on research and development (R&D) internationalization appears in several disciplines, with significant contributions in innovation, international business, management, and strategy research. Although the phenomenon is widely used in both research and practice, the impact of this concept on innovation is still not clear due to the multi-disciplinary nature of this relationship. This research gap is the motivation for the present study. Through a systematic review of 42 articles on R&D internationalization appearing in publication outlets for more than two decades, this paper examines the impact of R&D internationalization on innovation within the firm's boundaries. Based on this analysis, we map extant literature on the topic and we present an integrative framework of this relationship for future scholars to further build on, and executives to be guided by.
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Given the prevalence of and consequences associated with mental illness in the workplace, we believe this review is both critical and timely for researchers and practitioners. This systematic review broadens the extant literature in both theoretical and practical ways in an effort to help lay a foundation for the organizational scholarship of employees with mental illness, a group that has traditionally been underrepresented in the management and industrial-organizational psychology literatures. After defining and conceptualizing mental illness as a social identity, we systematically review the existing empirical research on employees with mental illness across multiple fields of study. Using research that accounts for individual, other, and organizational perspectives, we present a model that outlines the performance, employment, career, and discriminatory outcomes that characterize the experiences of individuals with mental illness as well as individual and organizational strategies that moderate the relationship between having a mental illness and experiencing those outcomes. Together, this article provides a synthesis of what is known about employees with mental illness while also highlighting avenues for future scholarly attention.
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The strategic change literature underscores the risk of loss of trust during change but does not address how trust can be restored once compromised. We conduct an inductive longitudinal study of an organization undergoing post-merger integration and examine how management worked to restore employee trust after a conflictual change process. We introduce the psychological contract perspective, which emphasizes relational explanations for loss of trust. We show that repairing trust can be conceptualized as a renegotiation of the psychological contract and develop a three-stage model of trust repair. In contrast to extant models of trust restoration, which emphasize diagnosis, explanation, penance, and reform, our model attends to relational dynamics that may emerge in the context of organizational change, with heightened uncertainty and ambiguity, and highlights the importance of restoring balance and renegotiating the contractual basis of the relationship.