On the relation between felt trust and actual trust: Examining pathways to and implications of leader trust meta-accuracy

Campagna, R. L., Dirks, K. T., Knight, A. P., Crossley, C., & Robinson, S. L. (In Press). On the relation between felt trust and actual trust: Examining pathways to and implications of leader trust meta-accuracy. Journal of Applied Psychology.

Abstract. Research has long emphasized that being trusted is a central concern for leaders (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002), but an interesting and important question left unexplored is whether leaders feel trusted by each employee, and whether their felt trust is accurate. Across two field studies, we examined the factors that shape the accuracy of leaders’ felt trust—or, their trust meta-accuracy—and the implications of trust meta- accuracy for the degree of relationship conflict between leaders and their employees. By integrating research on trust and interpersonal perception, we developed and tested hypotheses based on two theoretical mechanisms—an external signaling mechanism and an internal presumed reciprocity mechanism—that theory suggests shape leaders’ trust meta-accuracy. In contrast to the existing literature on felt trust, our results reveal that leader trust meta-accuracy is shaped by an internal mechanism and the presumed reciprocity of trust relationships. We further find that whether trust meta-accuracy is associated with positive relational outcomes for leaders depends upon the level of an employee’s actual trust in the leader. Our research contributes to burgeoning interest in felt trust by elucidating the mechanisms underlying trust meta-accuracy and suggesting practical directions for leaders who seek to accurately understand how much their employees trust them.

Spring 2018 Courses

Organizational Behavior
1st Year PMBA OB Core Course

This course presents a framework for thinking about how individual attributes and interpersonal skills serve as a foundation for effective leadership. As a context for developing these skills, the course focuses in particular on work in groups and teams. Through experiential exercises and classroom discussions, this course will enable you to gain deeper insights into your current strengths as a leader and to identify developmental opportunities for the future. There are two primary objectives:

  • Deepen your self-awareness by enhancing your insights into (1) your personal characteristics and attributes; (2) your interpersonal, social, and leadership skills; and, (3) your approach in working within groups and teams.
  • Improve your leadership effectiveness by enhancing your capacity to (1) identify your own leadership strengths and weaknesses and (2) understand how your assets and liabilities combine with others’ assets and liabilities in team-based work.

Fall 2016 Courses

Foundations for Effective Leadership (MBA), August to September, 2016

The focus of this 1st year Core MBA course is you–your characteristics, your attributes, and your interpersonal skills. This course presents a framework for thinking about how individual attributes and and interpersonal skills provide leadership potential. Through experiential exercises and interactions with your colleagues, this course will enable you to gain deeper insights into your current strengths as a leader and developmental opportunities for the future.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Deepen your self awareness by enhancing your insight into (1) your personal characteristics and attributes; (2) your interpersonal, social, and leadership skills; and, (3) your approach in working in groups and teams.
  • Improve your leadership effectiveness by enhancing your capacity to (1) identify your own leadership strengths and weaknesses and (2) understand how your assets and liabilities combine with others’ in groups and teams.

Who defers to whom and why?

Joshi, A., & Knight, A. P. (2015). Who defers to whom and why? Implications of demographic differences and dyadic deference for team effectiveness. Academy of Management Journal, 58, 59-84.

Abstract. We develop and test predictions about how demographic differences influence dyadic deference in multidisciplinary research teams, and how differential patterns of dyadic deference emerge to shape team-level effectiveness. We present a dual pathway model that recognizes that two distinct mechanisms—task contributions and social affinity— account for how team members’ demographic attributes contribute to deference. Furthermore, we propose that the extent to which these different mechanisms are prevalent in a team has implications for the team’s research productivity, with deference based on social affinity detracting from it and deference based on task contributions enhancing it. Using longitudinal data from a sample of 55 multidisciplinary research teams comprising 619 scientists, we found general support for our conceptual model. Our findings underscore the importance of accounting for multiple interpersonal mechanisms to understand the complex, multilevel nature of deference in teams.

When team members’ values differ

Klein, K. J., Knight, A. P., Ziegert, J. C., Lim, B. C., & Saltz, J. L. (2011). When team members’ values differ: The moderating effects of team leadership. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 114, 25-36.

Abstract. Integrating theory and research on values, diversity, situational strength, and team leadership, we proposed that team leadership moderates the effects of values diversity on team conflict. In a longitudinal survey study of national service teams, we found significant, but opposite, moderating effects of task-focused and person-focused leadership. As predicted, task-focused leadership attenuated the diversity–conflict relationship, while person-focused leadership exacerbated the diversity–conflict relationship. More specifically, task-focused leadership decreased the relationship between work ethic diversity and team conflict. Person-focused leadership increased the relationship between traditionalism diversity and team conflict. Team conflict mediated the effects of the interactions of leadership and values diversity on team effectiveness.

Dynamic delegation

Klein, K. J., Ziegert, J. C., Knight, A. P., & Xiao, Y. (2006). Dynamic delegation: Shared, hierarchical, and deindivididualized leadership in extreme action teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 51, 590-621.

Abstract. This paper examines the leadership of extreme action teams—teams whose highly skilled members cooperate to perform urgent, unpredictable, interdependent, and highly consequential tasks while simultaneously coping with frequent changes in team composition and training their teams’ novice members. Our qualitative investigation of the leadership of extreme action medical teams in an emergency trauma center revealed a hierarchical, deindividualized system of shared leadership. At the heart of this system is dynamic delegation: senior leaders’ rapid and repeated delegation of the active leader- ship role to and withdrawal of the active leadership role from more junior leaders of the team. Our findings suggest that dynamic delegation enhances extreme action teams’ ability to perform reliably while also building their novice team members’ skills. We highlight the contingencies that guide senior leaders’ delegation and withdrawal of the active leadership role, as well as the values and structures that motivate and enable the shared, ongoing practice of dynamic delegation. Further, we suggest that extreme action teams and other “improvisational” organizational units may achieve swift coordination and reliable performance by melding hierarchical and bureaucratic role-based structures with flexibility-enhancing processes. The insights emerging from our findings at once extend and challenge prior leadership theory and research, paving the way for further theory development and research on team leadership in dynamic settings.