Trust and team performance: A meta-analysis of main effects, moderators, and covariates

J Appl Psychol. 2016 Aug;101(8):1134-50. doi: 10.1037/apl0000110. Epub 2016 Apr 28.


Cumulating evidence from 112 independent studies (N = 7,763 teams), we meta-analytically examine the fundamental questions of whether intrateam trust is positively related to team performance, and the conditions under which it is particularly important. We address these questions by analyzing the overall trust-performance relationship, assessing the robustness of this relationship by controlling for other relevant predictors and covariates, and examining how the strength of this relationship varies as a function of several moderating factors. Our findings confirm that intrateam trust is positively related to team performance, and has an above-average impact (ρ = .30). The covariate analyses show that this relationship holds after controlling for team trust in leader and past team performance, and across dimensions of trust (i.e., cognitive and affective). The moderator analyses indicate that the trust-performance relationship is contingent upon the level of task interdependence, authority differentiation, and skill differentiation in teams. Finally, we conducted preliminary analyses on several emerging issues in the literature regarding the conceptualization and measurement of trust and team performance (i.e., referent of intrateam trust, dimension of performance, performance objectivity). Together, our findings contribute to the literature by helping to (a) integrate the field of intrateam trust research, (b) resolve mixed findings regarding the trust-performance relationship, (c) overcome scholarly skepticism regarding the main effect of trust on team performance, and (d) identify the conditions under which trust is most important for team performance. (PsycINFO Database Record

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Trust*