Explaining the justice-performance relationship: Trust as exchange deepener or trust as uncertainty reducer?

Jason A. Colquitt, Jeffery LePine, Ronald F. Piccolo, Cindy P. Zapata, Bruce L. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

226 Scopus citations

Abstract

Past research has revealed significant relationships between organizational justice dimensions and job performance, and trust is thought to be one mediator of those relationships. However, trust has been positioned in justice theorizing in 2 different ways, either as an indicator of the depth of an exchange relationship or as a variable that reflects levels of work-related uncertainty. Moreover, trust scholars distinguish between multiple forms of trust, including affect- and cognition-based trust, and it remains unclear which form is most relevant to justice effects. To explore these issues, we built and tested a more comprehensive model of trust mediation in which procedural, interpersonal, and distributive justice predicted affect- and cognition-based trust, with those trust forms predicting both exchange- and uncertainty-based mechanisms. The results of a field study in a hospital system revealed that the trust variables did indeed mediate the relationships between the organizational justice dimensions and job performance, with affect-based trust driving exchange-based mediation and cognition-based trust driving uncertainty-based mediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume97
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

Keywords

  • Justice
  • Performance
  • Social exchange
  • Trust
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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