Quid Pro Quo Nature of Leadership Trust Formation – A Monadic Study from the Subordinate’s Perspective

  •  S. Sathya Narayanan    


This study investigates the relevance of leader characteristics in influencing the leadership trust formation
among subordinates through a structural model. Although previous studies on leadership trust have identified
such antecedents, specific structural models of leadership trust formation are not established hitherto.
Hypothesised relationships in this study are investigated using structural equation modeling to establish direct
and indirect linkages between leader characteristics and leadership trust formation, thereby leading to an
established model. The findings reveal that the tenure of the work relationship between a leader and subordinate
and the leader’s trustworthy behaviour will not directly influence leadership trust. The perceived ability of the
leader and the interdependent nature of work directly influences trust formation in leaders. The trust reciprocity
variable – the belief that the leader trusts the subordinate – significantly influences leadership trust. This
research is cross-sectional in nature and three selected variables are measured through single item global scales,
which call for further studies overcoming their inherent weaknesses. As this study is monadic from the
perspective of the subordinates, a dyadic study including the leader’s perspective is recommended. To generate
leadership trust, a leader should not only exhibit trustworthy actions and behaviour but also should ensure that
the subordinates believe that he/she trusts them. Therefore, a leader’s trustworthy actions will create a reciprocal
belief among subordinates and in turn generate trust in leaders. The “give and take” nature of leadership trust
formation is established through a structural model which is the unique contribution of this study to the extant

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.