Trust in Organizations: Frontiers of Theory and Research


Roderick Kramer & Tom Tyler

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  • Dedication

    To Gene Webb


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    In May 1994, a 2-day conference on trust in organizations was held at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. A primary goal of that conference was to bring together social scientists interested in studying trust in organizations from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The theoretical and empirical contributions in the present book are a result of this effort. Any book is a collective enterprise, but this is especially true of an edited volume. Accordingly, there are many players, both front stage and back stage, whose contributions we would like to acknowledge.

    First, we are grateful to Joanne Martin, Gene Webb, and Mike Spence for their help in obtaining funding for the conference. We also acknowledge the generous support of the Miller Fund, the Dean's Office of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and the Institute for Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley. The conference was inspired, at least in part, by a very exciting and successful interdisciplinary seminar on trust and norms that was organized by Jim Baron several years ago, and we acknowledge our intellectual debt to him. We also thank Ben Hanna, Peter Degoey, and Lupe Winans for their help in making the conference happen.

    Finally, the professional staff at Sage Publications was extraordinary and we are grateful for their efforts. We especially acknowledge our editor, Harry Briggs, for his enthusiastic advocacy and stoic patience. And thanks to Maureen, Matthew, and Catherine for making such labors worthwhile. And to Ben and Jan for being good friends with whom such accomplishments can be shared.

    Roderick M.Kramer, Tom R.Tyler
  • About the Contributors

    Robert J. Bies (PhD, Stanford University) is an Associate Professor of Management at the School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. His research interests include the delivery of bad news, the “litigation mentality,” revenge in organizations, and organizational justice. He has published articles on these topics in the Academy of Management Journal, Organizational Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Research in Organizational Behavior, and Research on Negotiation in Organizations. He is also coeditor of The Legalistic Organization (1994).

    Marilynn B. Brewer is Ohio State Regents Professor of Social Psychology at the Ohio State University. She received her PhD in Psychology from Northwestern University and has written numerous books and articles on the social psychology of person perception, stereotyping, and intergroup relations. In 1993, she was elected President of the American Psychological Society and also has served as President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

    Joel Brockner is Professor of Management at Columbia Business School. After receiving a BA in psychology from SUNY-Stony Brook in 1972, he earned a PhD in Social/Personality Psychology from Tufts University in 1977. Prior to joining Columbia in 1984, he taught in the Psychology Departments at Middlebury College, SUNY-Brockport, and Tufts University, and in the business school at the University of Arizona. His current research interests include self-processes in organizations, the effects of layoffs (and other significant organizational change) on the people who remain, justice theory, and the escalation of commitment to a failing course of action.

    Philip Bromiley is a Professor of Strategic Management in the Department of Strategic Management and Organization at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. His current research interests include risk assessment and risk taking in organizations, with a particular emphasis on commercial lending, techniques to improve strategic thinking, and the measurement of corporate performance. He serves as an associate editor for Management Science and is on the editorial board of Organization Science.

    Barbara Benedict Bunker is Associate Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She received her PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1970. She is the author of numerous books and articles about change processes in organizations, gender and work organizations, theory of practice, and commuting couples. An applied social psychologist, she is a well-known consultant to business, nonprofit, and government organizations. She has held two Fulbright Lectureships in schools of business administration in Japan at Keio University and Kobe University.

    Ronald S. Burt is Professor of Sociology and Strategy at the University of Chicago. Recent work includes Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition, “Contingent Organization as a Network Theory: The Culture-Performance Contingency Function” (with Shaul M. Gabbay, Gerhard Holt, and Peter Moran, Acta Sociologica), and “Le capital social, les trous structuraux, et 1?entrepreneur” (Revue Francaise de Sociologie).

    W. E. Douglas Creed is an Assistant Professor at the Carroll School of Management, Boston College. He received his doctorate in organizational behavior and industrial relations from the Haas School of Business, the University of California at Berkeley, where he worked with Trond Petersen, Karlene Roberts, and Raymond Miles. He also holds an MBA from Berkeley, an MA from Yale Divinity School, and a BA from Yale University.

    L. L. Cummings is Professor of Management of the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. His current research focuses on organizational trust, psychological ownership, extra role behaviors, and feedback seeking. He has published widely and serves as coeditor of Research in Organizational Behavior. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, The Decision Sciences Institute, and the Academy of Management. He was honored in 1995 by the Academy of Management with its Distinguished Educator Award.

    Michael R. Darby is the Warren C. Cordner Professor of Money and Financial Markets and Director of the John M. Olin Center for Policy in the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA. Concurrently he holds appointments as Chairman of The Dumbarton Group, Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, Adjunct Scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, and Member of the Regulatory Coordination Advisory Committee of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Darby received his AB summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1967. He is the author of seven books and monographs and numerous other professional publications.

    Peter Degoey is a doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley, concurrently completing degrees in Social Psychology and Organizational Behavior. His research focuses on issues of procedural justice, trust in authorities, and collective sensemaking processes within organizations. His first single-author manuscript, which is due to appear in the 1996 volume of the Research in Organizational Behavior series, focuses on the social contagion of fairness judgments in social networks. He was a business owner for 10 years before returning to academia.

    Benjamin A. Hanna is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Behavior at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. His interests include the role of social identity and self-categorization on several multilevel phenomena in organizations, including trust behavior, sensemaking during change, and threat perception and reaction. He is currently involved in research on the social-psychological barriers to moving from traditional, hierarchical work arrangements to team-based, high-commitment practices. His dissertation will examine the effects of implementing an employee monitoring system on both managers and employees and how the ideological context of the organization inhibits or facilitates the implementation of the new system.

    David Kipnis is at the Department of Psychology at Temple University. His research has examined the use of social power, the relation between social power and technology, and more recently the ways in which technology changes social behavior. His writings include numerous articles and several books (The Powerholders; Technology and Power) on these topics.

    Marc Knez is Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science and Business Policy at the University of Chicago. Recent work includes “Creating Expectational Assets in the Laboratory: Coordination in Weakest-Link Games” (with Colin Camerer, Strategic Management Journal) and “Social Comparison and Outside Options in 3-Player Ultimatum Game Experiments” (with Colin Camerer, under review).

    Roderick M. Kramer is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Prior to coming to Stanford, he worked for several years as Program Director of the USC Norris Cancer Center's Cancer Information Service and later as Program Director of the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center's Public and Patient Education Programs. After leaving the Jonsson Center, he earned his PhD in Social Psychology from UCLA. He joined the faculty of the Stanford Business School in 1985. His research focuses primarily on decision making in conflict situations, such as social dilemmas, negotiations, and international disputes. Most recently, his research has focused on the role of cognitive illusions in conflicts and the dynamics of trust and distrust in organizations. His work has appeared in journals such as the Annual Review of Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Roy J. Lewicki is Professor of Management and Human Resources at the Max M. Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University. He received his BA in Psychology from Dartmouth College in 1964 and his PhD in Social Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1969. He is author and coauthor of numerous books and articles in the fields of negotiation, dispute resolution, organizational justice, and organizational behavior, including Negotiation (1994), Negotiation: Readings, Exercises and Cases (1993), and Organizational Justice (1992).

    Debra Meyerson is Adjunct Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Michigan's Business School and Lecturer of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Her current research interests include the politics and process of change directed at gender and race equity in organizations, alternative conceptions of leadership, cultural responses to ambiguity, and the creation of trust in “temporary” organizations. She received her PhD in Organization Behavior from Stanford University.

    Raymond E. Miles is former Dean and Trefethen Professor of Organizational Behavior Emeritus at the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his PhD in Organizational Behavior from Stanford University. He is the author of five books and numerous articles on managers' theories of management, organization design and change, strategy-structure-process fit, and emerging organizational forms. Dr. Miles is a consultant to organizations in the United States and abroad and is a member of two corporate boards. He is a fellow of the Academy of Management and a frequent participant in its annual programs, including its doctoral consortia.

    Aneil K. Mishra is Assistant Professor of Management at the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University. He received his PhD in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and an AB cum laude in economics from Princeton University. His research interests include processes and outcomes of trust within and between organizations, organizational downsizing, and organizational culture. His research has appeared in such journals as the Academy of Management Executive, Organization Science, and Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Prior to pursuing the PhD, he worked in the automotive industry as a manufacturing engineer and a human resource specialist.

    Yusheng Peng received his Master's degree in Sociology from Beijing University in 1986 and his PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1993. He is at present a lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, teaching statistics, methodology, and economic sociology. His research interests include economic institutions, organizational study, and social stratification. Currently he is working on Chinese rural industries. He has published “Wage Determination in Rural and Urban China: A Comparison Between Public and Private Sectors” (1992).

    Walter W. Powell is Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona. He is a coauthor of Books: The Culture and Commerce of Publishing, author of Getting Into Print: The Decision-Making Process in Scholarly Publishing, and the editor of The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook. With Paul DiMaggio, he edited and contributed to The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Private Action and the Public Good, coedited with Elisabeth Clemens, is forthcoming in 1996. He is presently studying the origins and development of the biotechnology industry.

    Blair H. Sheppard is a Professor of Management and Associate Dean, Executive Education, at the Fuqua School of Business. He received his BA and MA degrees from the University of Western Ontario and his PhD in Social/Organizational Psychology from the University of Illinois. He taught at the University of Illinois and McGill University prior to coming to Duke. His research interests pertain to the broad topic of managing relations within and between organizations. Specific interests include conflict management, negotiation, organizational justice, and interfirm relations. He has published articles on all of these topics in a range of business and psychology journals and is coeditor of an annual series titled Research on Negotiation in Organizations.

    Phyllis Siegel is a PhD candidate at Columbia Business School. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and a BS in Management from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. Her current research interests are threefold: (a) the causes and consequences of justice in organizations, (b) top-management teams, and (c) cross-cultural differences in organizational behavior.

    Sim B Sitkin is Associate Professor of Management at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University. He received his PhD in organizational behavior from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and has previously taught at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Texas. His research focuses on the effect of formal and informal organizational control systems on risk taking, accountability, trust, learning, and innovation. His work draws primarily on institutional, impression management, and learning theories to understand the processes by which organizations and their members become more or less capable of change and innovation. He is currently pursuing these interests through two NSF-sponsored projects that examine how formal and informal control systems affect organizational learning-one focusing on the use of TQM programs and the other focusing on the use of rules and documentation in a cross-functional innovation team. He edited with Robert Bies The Legalistic Organization (1994).

    Darryl Stickel is a PhD student in Management and Organizational Behavior at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. He completed his BA and MPA degrees at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. His research interests include trust, negotiations, labor relations, interpersonal relations, and social justice. He has previously worked for both the federal government of Canada and the provincial government of British Columbia.

    Thomas M. Tripp is an Assistant Professor of Management at Washington State University. In 1991, he received his PhD from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. In 1985, he received a BS in Psychology from the University of Washington. Dr. Tripp studies conflict resolution, especially how people use fairness to mitigate power differentials during negotiations. He has also written on related issues of power abuse, distrust, revenge, impression management, and defamation within organizations. Nevertheless, he maintains optimism regarding organizational life. His work has appeared in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Social Justice Research, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Research on Negotiations in Organizations, and the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

    Maria Tuchinsky is a PhD candidate in Management and Organizational Behavior at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. She earned her BA and MA in Sociology from Stanford University. Her research interests revolve around inter- and intrafirm relationships as well as negotiation and trust issues. She has a forthcoming chapter with Blair Sheppard in Research in Organizational Behavior, discussing relational forms as strategic business decisions.

    Tom R. Tyler is Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. His research explores the social psychology of justice and the dynamics of authority in groups. He is the author of The Social Psychology of Procedural Justice (with E. A. Lind) and Why People Obey the Law.

    Eugene J. Webb was the LANE Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His early interest in methodological questions helped him to migrate to a concern for public policy. He taught courses in both power politics and philanthropy. He passed away March 14, 1995.

    Karl E. Weick, who is the Rensis Likert Collegiate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at the University of Michigan, is also the former Editor of Administrative Science Quarterly. In 1990, Dr. Weick received the highest honor awarded by the Academy of Management, the Irwin Award for Distinguished Lifetime Scholarly Achievement. In the same year, he also received the award for Best Article of the Year in the Academy of Management Review. He studies such topics as how people make sense of confusing events, the social psychology of improvisation, high reliability systems, and indeterminacy in social systems.

    Lynne G. Zucker is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Organizational Research Program at the Institute for Social Science Research at UCLA. Concurrently she holds appointments as Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, as Consulting Sociologist with the American Institute of Physics, and in the affiliated faculty of the UCLA School of Education. Zucker is the author of four books and monographs and numerous journal and other articles on organizational theory, analysis, and evaluation, institutional structure, civil service, government spending and services, unionization, science and its commercialization, and permanently failing organizations. She serves or has served as Associate Editor or Editorial Board Member for Administrative Science Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Pacific Sociological Review, and Symbolic Interaction.

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