Fool Me Once: Response to Trust Violation in Collaborative Dyads
Fry, Trevor Noah
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Much of what is known about trust violation in collaborative contexts has emerged in the body of trust repair literature, broadly implicating that trust repair behaviors will be the immediate response to follow a trust-related transgression. However, when trust is violated in the workplace, it is possible that substantial time may pass before any movements toward trust repair are attempted. During that time between a trust violation experience and attempts to repair trust the trustor may experience a range of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in response to the violation. This dissertation aims to begin unpacking that black box through systematic investigation of the cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to trust violation that individuals experience prior to engaging in trust repair strategies. To this end, the current study addresses two overarching research questions. First, what are the internal responses to trust violation that drive decreases in trust? Second, how does that change in trust influence individual behaviors prior to attempts at trust repair? The current study draws on two recently collected archival datasets investigating the broader lifecycle of trust, an online survey and in-lab experiment, to address several hypotheses surrounding these research questions. This research presents several novel findings regarding individual responses to trust violation in collaborative relationships. First, it was found that primary appraisal perceptions of trustees tend to decrease substantially following a violation, and those cognitive perceptions are predictive of subsequent changes in levels of trust. Second, the findings indicate that feeling upset is also a common response that predicts changes in trust. Third, the overall findings extend on existing trust violation theory by suggesting a four-step process involving a violation event, cognitive and affective reactions, changes in trust attitudes, and distinct behavioral reactions. The implications of these findings for theory and practice, and recommendations for future research are elaborated on.