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Trust and signals in workplace organization: evidence from job autonomy differentials between immigrant groups

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  • van Hoorn, Andr

    (Groningen University)

Abstract

While much work has considered trust’s effect on workplace organization, particularly the granting of job autonomy, this relationship remains essentially a black box, lacking insight on the deeper process underlying employers’ ultimate trust or autonomy decision. I seek to unpack the trust-organization nexus, focusing on the role of employers’ inferences about employees’ trustworthiness. Integrating extant literatures, I posit that employers use group membership—and specific group-level traits—as an observable signal concerning individual employees’ trustworthiness and decide how much autonomy to grant to employees that have similar observable individual-level qualities but belong to different, easily recognizable social groups. Empirical analysis of job autonomy differentials between groups of migrants with different ethnonational identities reveals systematic patterns of variation that cannot be explained on the basis of observable employee traits alone. Hence, the evidence strongly supports the signalling value of group membership, demonstrating an important real-world feature of trust governing workplace organization.
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Suggested Citation

  • van Hoorn, Andr, 2016. "Trust and signals in workplace organization: evidence from job autonomy differentials between immigrant groups," Research Report 16006-GEM, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  • Handle: RePEc:gro:rugsom:16006-gem
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D29 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Other
    • L29 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Other
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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