Understanding the Effects of Substantive Responses on Trust Following a Transgression

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Despite the importance of trust in work relationships, and the potential for it to be violated, there is surprisingly little research on how trust can be repaired. Two studies, involving a context in which a senior executive of an organization has violated his employees? trust, were conducted to investigate the effects of two ?substantive? responses for repairing trust, which we refer to as penance and regulation. These studies also investigated the effects of such responses on the cognitive processes of the trustor to shed light onto how and when these substantive responses may effectively repair trust. Study 1 revealed that both penance and regulation increased trust following a violation, that perceived repentance was the singular mediating cognition responsible for the effectiveness of both responses, and that trustors saw repentance signals as more informative when the original transgression was due to a lapse of competence, than when it was due to a lapse of integrity. Study 2 then compared these substantive responses to apologies (non-substantive responses), which have been the focus of prior research on trust repair, and revealed that, despite their surface level differences, that they repaired trust through the same mediating cognition.


Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics

Research Areas

Behavioral Sciences


Annual meeting of the Academy of Management

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