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The role of trust: Implications for psychological capital and authentic leadership

Steven Michael Norman, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The need for positivity and transparency in organizations has perhaps never been greater. Organizational scandals are widespread and organizational demands on leaders and employees at all levels are at an all time high. Drawing from positive psychology and past leadership research, this dissertation explores the impact that leader positive psychological capital, or PsyCap (hope, optimism, efficacy, and resiliency), and level of transparency affect perceptions of trust in them and their overall effectiveness as an authentic leader. ^ Utilizing an on-line experimental study with random assignment of 304 adult, fully employed subjects into four conditions (high leader PsyCap/high leader transparency, low leader PsyCap/high leader transparency, high leader PsyCap/low leader transparency, and low leader PsyCap/low leader transparency), results indicated strong support for the hypothesized relationships. Specifically, even after controlling for a wide variety of subject variables (whether the subject has been through an organizational downsizing, subjects' gender, subjects' age, subjects' propensity to trust, subjects' overall years of work experience, whether the subject was based in the United States, subjects' job type, and subjects' job level), it was found that both the leader's level of PsyCap and level of transparency impact followers' trust in that leader and followers' evaluation of the effectiveness of that leader. Limitations, practical implications, and future research are noted. Results contribute to the better understanding and positive impact of authentic leadership. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management

Recommended Citation

Norman, Steven Michael, "The role of trust: Implications for psychological capital and authentic leadership" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3208085.