Chapter 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
TRUST, JUSTICE, AND ETHICS
Trust: the willingness to be vulnerable to an authority based on positive
expectations about the authority’s actions and intentions.
o A trustee is trustworthy and will act in a way that benefits the trustor
and protect them from exploitation or harm.
o Trust only becomes an issue when an individual is dependent on and
vulnerable to the actions of another party.
Justice: the perceived fairness of an authority’s decision making.
o Justice concepts can be used to explain why employees judge some
authorities to be more trustworthy than others.
Ethics: the degree to which the behaviours of an authority are in accordance
with generally accepted moral norms.
o Ethics concepts can be used to explain why authorities decide to act in
a trustworthy manner.
WHY ARE SOME AUTHORITIES MORE TRUSTED THAN OTHERS?
Disposition-based trust: trust that is rooted in one’s own personality, as
opposed to a careful assessment of the trustee’s trustworthiness.
o Less to do with the authority, more to do with the trustor.
Trust propensity: a general expectation that the words, promises, and
statements of individuals can be relied upon.
o People who are high in trust propensity might be fooled into trusting
others who are not worthy at all.
o People who are low in trust propensity might be fooled by not
trusting someone who is actually deserving of it.
o A product of nature and nurture and continue to be shaped by our experiences.
Cognition-based trust: trust that is rooted in a rational assessment of the
Trustworthiness: characteristics or attributes of a person that inspire trust,
including competence, character, and benevolence.
We gauge the track record along three dimensions:
o Ability: the skills, competencies, and areas of expertise that enable an
authority to be successful in some specific area.
o Benevolence: the belief that an authority wants to do good for a
trustor, apart from any selfish or profit-centered motives.
o Integrity: the perception that an authority adheres to a set of values
and principles that the trustor finds acceptable. AFFECT-BASED TRUST
Affect-based trust: trust that depends on feelings toward the authority that
go beyond any rational assessment of trustworthiness.
o More emotional than rational.
We trust because we have feelings for the person in question.
In a select few relationships, an emotional bond develops, and our feelings
for the trustee further increase our willingness to accept vulnerability.
Distributive justice: the perceived fairness of decision-making outcomes.
Employees gauge distributive justice by asking whether decision outcomes,
such as pay, rewards, evaluations, promotions, and work assignments, are
allocated using proper norms.
o The equity norm is typically judged to be the fairest choice in
situations in which the goal is to maximize the productivity of
In team-based work, an equality norm may be judged more fair.
In cases where the welfare of a particular employee is the critical concern, a
need norm may be judged more fair.
Procedural justice: the perceived fairness of decision-making processes.
Procedural justice is fostered when authorities adhere to rules of fair
o Voice: giving employees a chance to express their opinions.
o Correctability: a chance to request an appeal when a procedure seems
to have worked ineffectively.
Procedural justice is fostered when authorities adhere to four rules that
serve to create equal employment opportunities
o Bias suppression
Important rules in ensuring that non-relevant demographic characteristics
do not bias organizational decision-making.
Procedural justice tends to be a stronger driver of reactions to authorities
than distributive justice.
Interpersonal justice: the perceived fairness of the interpersonal treatment
received by employees from authorities.