A multilevel investigation of the mediating role of trust in the relationships between leadership and follower outcomes

  • M.C. Hasel

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The following research project investigated the mediating effects of individual trust in the relationships between eight leadership dimensions and follower motivation and efficacy. The research comprised of a total of three studies of which two are individual level analyses investigating the above relationship for individual followers, while the final study established the relationship between the eight dimensions and collective efficacy and group cohesion. A new measure of trust — collective vertical trust — was developed and tested and formed the mediator for the final study. The findings showed that leadership is indeed mediated through trust on both individual and collective level in the majority of relationships. In addition it was shown that individual and collective vertical trust are significantly related. Finally, the final study showed an absence of a significant relationship between trust on both the individual and collective level and organizational performance. The findings contributed to existing research in various ways: 1) the mediating effect of individual trust was established for eight separate leadership dimensions; 2) the studies established that while the indirect effects of leadership on follower motivation are similar amongst all age groups and levels of work experience, more work experienced individuals draw their beliefs in their abilities (i.e., self-efficacy) from alternative sources than leadership or trust in the leader; 3) a new measure of collective trust —collective vertical trust was established; 4) the mediating effect of collective trust was shown to be crucial in leadership effects on collective efficacy and group cohesion; and finally 5) a leadership measure initially designed for executive leaders was refined and tested for non-executive leaders.
Date of Award29 Oct 2009
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPatrick A Tissington (Supervisor) & Robin P Martin (Supervisor)


  • multilevel investigation
  • trust
  • relationships between leadership and follower outcomes

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