Setting high expectations is not enough: linkages between expectation climate strength, trust, and employee performance

Audenaert, Mieke, Decramer, Adelien, Lange, Thomas and Vanderstraeten, Alex (2016) Setting high expectations is not enough: linkages between expectation climate strength, trust, and employee performance. International Journal of Manpower, 37 (6) . pp. 1024-1041. ISSN 0143-7720 [Article] (doi:10.1108/IJM-12-2015-0201)

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Drawing on Climate Theory and Social Exchange Theory, we examine whether and how the strength of the expectation climate, defined as the degree of agreement amongst job incumbents on what is expected from them, affects their job performance. To explain this relationship, we utilize mediating trust-in-the-organization effects as an explanatory avenue. In a time-lagged data sample of 568 public service employees, whose job performance is rated by their 242 line managers, we apply multilevel modelling. We employed stratified random sampling techniques across 75 job functions in a large, public sector organization in Belgium. Our analysis provides support for the argument that expectation climate strength via mediating trust-in-the-organization effects impacts positively on the relationship between employee expectations and performance. Specifically, the significant association of the expectation climate strength with trust suggests that the perceived consensus about the expectations among different job incumbents demonstrates an organization’s trustworthiness and reliability to pursue intentions that are deemed favorable for employees. We conjecture that expectation climate strength breeds trust which strengthens employees’ job performance. HRM professionals in general, and line managers in particular, should heed our advice and carefully manage their tools and practices in an effort to signal compatible expectancies to different job incumbents in the same or similar roles. Our results shed new light on the mechanisms through which the strength of collective expectations impacts employee outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 18861
Notes on copyright: Attached is an author accepted manuscript version of an article published in International Journal of Manpower; made available in this repository in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Depositing User: Thomas Lange
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2016 10:33
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 21:36

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