Matrix Management

Matrix Monday: Organizational Trust

literature on matrix management, matrix structures

Today’s Matrix Monday review of matrix-related literature was one recommended by Global Integration training consultant, Phil Stockbridge: An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust: Past, Present and Future, by  F. David Schoorman, Purdue University; Roger C. Mayer, The University of Akron; and James H. Davis, University of Notre Dame, The Academy of Management Review  Vol. 20, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), pp. 709-734.

This paper is as interesting for the issues it raises for further research as for the models of trust it expounds – and with organizational trust at an all time low (according to the paper) it’s an important area of research.

The paper clarifies its model of trust, tackling the widely accepted approach that trust is based on disposition and traits, arguing that trust is based on relationships. It also tries to establish the essence of what trust is, throwing into the pot factors such as a willingness to take risks and a willingness to appear vulnerable.

It distinguishes between trust at a micro level and macro level in organizations, establishing three pillars of trust – benevolence (to which little attention has been paid to date), integrity and ability. (In this context, the  paper also alludes to the role of open benchmarking as a way to establish trust.)

The paper takes a cursory look at distrust and examines the role of control in the trust equation, noting that the balance of control is a factor (too much or too little and trust is damaged). It also notes the strong cultural aspect to trust, and acknowledges the roles of affection and emotion.

All in all, the paper is a thought provoking contribution to discussions around organizational trust, a particular issue in matrix organizations.



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