Trust relations in management of change

Tidsskriftartikel - 2011


Trust is essential for the success of change, but transformational change challenges trust. This paper analyses how trust dynamics develop over time in two Danish manufacturing firms affected by major change programmes. The results show that change creates uncertainty among employees, thereby provoking intense scrutiny of management intentions and a tendency to make interpretations that exaggerate management intentions-with the end result of reduced trust. Management then react similarly with negative interpretations of employee reactions, creating a vicious cycle of reduced trust. The paper proposes a model for how change and trust interact and suggests a managerial strategy for trust repair: Strong management actions that symbolise integrity, competence and benevolence may counteract reduced trust, but if low trust turns into distrust, the result may be a deadlock that both parties find difficult to break.


Sørensen OH, Hasle PS, Pejtersen JH. Trust relations in management of change. Scandinavian Journal of Management 2011;27(4):405-417.
doi: 10.1016/j.scaman.2011.08.003

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