Measuring Trust in an Organization

Schoorman and Ballinger developed seven "trust items" that were tested with notable validity. For leaders interested in testing the trust waters in their organization, these seven questions provide a useful framework or litmus test to determine whether there is a need for further examination of the extent to which trust is present or absent in an organization. On a scale of one to five, with one being "strongly agree" and five being "strongly disagree," estimate or even find out how subordinates in your organization would answer the following questions about middle and executive management in your firm.

  1. My supervisor keeps my interests in mind when making decisions?
  2. I would be willing to let my supervisor have complete control over my future in this company.
  3. If my supervisor asked why a problem occurred, I would speak freely even if I were partly to blame.
  4. I feel comfortable being creative because my supervisor understands that sometimes creative solutions do not work.
  5. It is important for me to have a good way to keep an eye on my supervisor
  6. Increasing my vulnerability to criticism by my supervisor would be a mistake.
  7. If I had my way, I wouldn’t let my supervisor have any influence over decisions that are important to me.
If this rhetorical examination of these "trust tests" leads you to pause, your organization may be in need of a more thorough examination of trust among the ranks.

Source: The Currency of Trust: What Business Leaders Can Learn from the Extreme Poor by Joan Ball | Ivey Business Journal, September/October 2009

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