Employee see employee do

Topic(s): trust
Publication: Personnel Psychology (2013)
Article: Changes in perceived supervisor embeddedness: Effects on employees’ embeddedness, organizational trust, and voice behavior
Authors: Thomas W. H. Ng & Daniel C. Feldman
Reviewed by: Scott Charles Sitrin

According to a study by Thomas W. H. Ng of the University of Hong Kong & Daniel C. Feldman of the University of Georgia, an employee’s perception of her supervisor’s level of embeddedness (a.k.a., commitment) will affect the employee’s own level of commitment, trust, and behavior within the organization.

Specifically, when an employee perceives her boss as being committed to the organization, the employee tends to feel greater levels of trust to the organization. Further, as an employee’s sense of trust towards an organization increases, so does her own commitment and embeddedness. Next, with an increase in embeddedness, an employee feels more comfortable speaking out and making recommendations for the organization, a process known as increased voice behavior. In sum, an employee’s perception of her boss’s embeddedness leads to feelings of trust towards the organization that in turn leads to feelings of embeddedness and ultimately increased voice behavior.

In this study, surveys assessing employees’ perception of supervisor embeddedness, employees’ organizational trust, employee embeddedness, and employee voice behavior were administered to 338 workers at three separate time points. Questions such as “My supervisor is tightly connected to this organization” and “My supervisor is too caught up in this organization to leave” assessed employees’ perceptions of their supervisors’ embeddedness; question such as “I fully trust my employer” and “In general, I believe my employer’s motives and intentions are good” assessed employees’ trust in their employers; questions such as “I am tightly connected to this organization” and “I’m too caught up in this organization to leave” assessed employees’ perceptions of their own embeddedness; and questions such as “I develop and make recommendations concerning issues that affect the organization” and “I speak up and encourage others to get involved in issues that affect the organization” assessed employee voice behavior.