Trust in leadership: meta-analytic findings and implications for research and practice

J Appl Psychol. 2002 Aug;87(4):611-28. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.87.4.611.


In this study, the authors examined the findings and implications of the research on trust in leadership that has been conducted during the past 4 decades. First, the study provides estimates of the primary relationships between trust in leadership and key outcomes, antecedents, and correlates (k = 106). Second, the study explores how specifying the construct with alternative leadership referents (direct leaders vs. organizational leadership) and definitions (types of trust) results in systematically different relationships between trust in leadership and outcomes and antecedents. Direct leaders (e.g., supervisors) appear to be a particularly important referent of trust. Last, a theoretical framework is offered to provide parsimony to the expansive literature and to clarify the different perspectives on the construct of trust in leadership and its operation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Leadership*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Professional Competence