Trust: The Neglected Innovation Ingredient

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch


Principal Topic

Without trust companies lose multiple financial and social advantages (e.g., Dirks & Ferrin, 2002). According to approaches that view trust as a process (Dietz & Den Hartog, 2006), a psychological state of trust manifests in trusting behaviors (Nienaber et al., 2015), such as innovative behavior. Innovative behavior captures the extent to which a trustor speaks up about ideas related to procedural or product innovation (Yuan & Woodman, 2010). Put simply, trust yields access to ideas. Drawing on leader-member exchange theory (LMX) (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995; Gottfredson et al., 2020), one way to enable innovation is to better understand (a) how leaders apply trust-building activities and control mechanisms differently in unique dyadic relationships, (b) how these applications are perceived by their members, and (c) how the leader’s approach changes over time.


We employ a dyadic research design (Kenny et al., 2006) using two online surveys. The target population are leader-member dyads in entrepreneurial, growth-orientated firms (Miller & Le Breton-Miller, 2005). We aim for a sample of 150 participants (i.e., n=50 managers; n=100 employees), resulting in 100 dyads (Sekaran & Bougie, 2016). All measures utilized in this study are established and validated scales. Dyadic data analysis, structural equation modelling (SEM), and confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses (i.e., CFA and EFA) are employed to test our hypotheses. Data collection is expected to end in July 2022.

Results and Implications

Theoretical contributions of this study include better understanding the role of trust-building intentions, trust-building activities, and control mechanisms in the building of LMX relationships and innovation. Adding to the trust literature, our findings examine the relationships among (a) psychological factors and trust-building intentions, (b) trust-building intentions and trust-building activities, (c) trust-building activities and trusting behavior, and (d) the moderating role of control. Further adding to the LMX and innovation literature, we demonstrate how perception gaps between leaders and members differ and consequently influence trusting behavior, such as, for example, idea generation.

Practical implications highlight the importance for organizations to understand the significance of intentions to influence employee behavior. By establishing connections between intentions and employees’ trusting behavior, this research offers guidance to practitioners as strategic planners who aim to ensure an adequate composition of initiatives to drive innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2022
EventBabson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference 2022 - Baylor University, Waco, TX, United States
Duration: 1 Jun 20224 Jun 2022


ConferenceBabson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleBCERC
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWaco, TX


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