Author(s), Title and Publication
Jiang, H., & Luo, Y., (2018). Crafting employee trust: From authenticity, transparency to engagement. Journal of Communication Management, 22(2), 138-160.

Employee trust has been consistently linked to engagement, a fundamental driver of business success and organizational growth. Gaining employee trust is a critical component of effective leadership, and consistency in communication and action helps breed trust, and create lasting, emotional connections between team members and leaders. Leaders therefore need to become role models for communication. The authors of this study propose that employee trust toward the organization relates positively to several key organizational contextual factors including; (1) authentic leadership behaviors, (2) transparent organizational communication, and (3) employee engagement. Immediate supervisors’ demonstration of authentic leadership behaviors, such as information sharing, relational closeness, transparency, and integration of employee viewpoints the authors suggest, can strengthen employees’ engagement and feelings of trust toward the organization through recognizing various components of employees’ voice, and their desire to have a say in decision-making, problem-solving, and other organizational activities.

The authors collected data from 391 participants, who were nationally representative of employees working across industry sectors, to validate their theoretical model. Results showed that authentic leadership, transparent organizational communication, and employee engagement directly and significantly influenced the level of trust they had toward their organizations. Findings revealed engagement, characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption as a key contributor to trust. Authentic leadership impacted employee engagement, however, indirectly through transparent organizational communication. Authentic leadership also indirectly affected employee trust via the presence of transparent organizational communication, and likewise directly affected employee trust, though less significantly.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should (1) launch leadership development training workshops to cultivate the essential traits of authentic leadership i.e.; understanding of one’s own strengths/weaknesses, directed by internal moral standards rather than external forces, having objectivity in processing information, actively seeking alternative perspectives, and challenging feedback, openly sharing information, expressing true thoughts and feelings, and cultivating openness with others to express their true ideas, (2) demonstrate authentic leadership by communicating with consistency between beliefs and actions, and transparency by honestly sharing information with coworkers and showing genuine consideration for others, and (3) cultivate, maintain, and enhance engagement and trust by demonstrating interest in employee feedback and incorporating inputs from employees into decision making.

Location of Article

This article is available online at: (abstract free, purchase full article)

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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