Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Susan Pepper


Trust in leaders is increasingly recognized as a crucial organizational variable; meta-analytic evidence suggests that trust is associated with important outcomes of job performance, organizational citizenship behaviors, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover, and counterproductive behavior (Colquitt, Scott & LePine, 2007; Dirks & Ferrin, 2002). In this research, I investigated how various functional and dysfunctional leadership styles influence employees’ emotions, perceptions of leader trustworthiness, and trust in leader and explored the mediating roles of employees’ emotions and trustworthiness perceptions in the relationships between leadership styles and trust. The overarching goal was to develop and test an integrated model of leadership, emotions, trustworthiness, and trust in leader.

Three studies were conducted. The first two were questionnaire-based studies with part-time working students and full-time employees from various organizations; the third was an experiment in which students assessed a simulated applicant for a leadership position. All three studies demonstrated that transformational and contingent reward leadership had a positive impact on how people feel, how they perceive their leaders’ trustworthiness, and how much they trust their leaders, while passive-avoidant, Machiavellian and pseudo-transformational leadership styles tended to negatively influence people’s feelings, their perceptions of leader trustworthiness, and their trust in leaders. MBE-active leadership had either no effect or a weak negative effect on emotions, trustworthiness perceptions, and trust in leaders. Trustworthiness perceptions mediated the links between leadership styles and trust. Only positive (but not negative) emotions mediated the links of transformational and contingent reward leadership with trust, whereas both positive and negative emotions mediated the relationships between leadership and trustworthiness perceptions. The proposed integrated model received strong support from the three studies, thus contributing to our understanding of the mechanisms through which leaders influence followers’ emotions, trustworthiness perceptions, and trust. Findings also supported the extension of Christie and colleagues’ (2011) model of pseudo-transformational leadership through the addition of perceived Machiavellian leadership. Strong reliability and validity evidence was obtained for the newly-developed Perceived Machiavellian Leadership Scale. The results of this project have important implications for leadership theory and organizational practices involving leadership development, selection, succession planning, and other human resource programs.