TITLE

The Use of Rewards to Increase and Decrease Trust: Mediating Processes and Differential Effects

AUTHOR(S)
Ferrin, Donald L.; Dirks, Kurt T.
PUB. DATE
January 2003
SOURCE
Organization Science;Jan/Feb2003, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p18
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
We test hypotheses asserting that reward structures--an omnipresent element of the work context--have a strong influence on interpersonal trust, and we explore the cognitive and behavioral routes through which the effects may occur. Specifically, we use attribution theory to identify several core processes including social perception (causal schemas), self-perception, and attributional biases (correspondence bias, suspicion effects, and preexisting expectations) that may explain trust development. A 3 (cooperative/competitive/mixed rewards) X 2 (high/low initial trust) experimental design in a problem-solving task was used to examine the hypotheses. The results suggest that reward structures have a strong influence on trust, and that the effect is mediated by causal schemas, suspicion effects, and self-perception. We also found some support for the prediction that the impact of mixed reward structures on trust is biased by individuals' preexisting expectations about their partner's trust-worthiness. The theory and results suggest that attribution theory provides a useful framework for understanding the complex, diverse, and multiple routes through which trust may develop.
ACCESSION #
9108889

 

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