Setting high expectations is not enough: Linkages between expectation climate strength, trust, and employee performance

Journal article


Audenaert, Mieke, Decramer, Adelien, Lange, Thomas and Vanderstraeten, Alex. (2016). Setting high expectations is not enough: Linkages between expectation climate strength, trust, and employee performance. International Journal of Manpower. 37(6), pp. 1024 - 1041. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-12-2015-0201
AuthorsAudenaert, Mieke, Decramer, Adelien, Lange, Thomas and Vanderstraeten, Alex
Abstract

Purpose: Drawing on climate theory and social exchange theory, the purpose of this paper is to examine whether and how the strength of the expectation climate, defined as the degree of agreement among job incumbents on what is expected from them, affects their job performance. To explain this relationship, the authors utilize mediating trust-in-the organization effects as an explanatory avenue. Design/methodology/approach: In a time-lagged data sample of 568 public service employees, whose job performance is rated by their 242 line managers, the authors apply multilevel modeling. The authors employed stratified random sampling techniques across 75 job categories in a large, public sector organization in Belgium. Findings: The analysis provides support for the argument that expectation climate strength via mediating trust-in-the organization effects impacts positively on the relationship between employee expectations and performance. Specifically, the significant association of the expectation climate strength with trust suggests that the perceived consensus about the expectations among different job incumbents demonstrates an organization’s trustworthiness and reliability to pursue intentions that are deemed favorable for employees. The authors conjecture that expectation climate strength breeds trust which strengthens employees’ job performance. Practical implications: HRM professionals in general, and line managers in particular, should heed the advice and carefully manage their tools and practices in an effort to signal compatible expectancies to different job incumbents in the same or similar roles. Originality/value: The results shed new light on the mechanisms through which the strength of collective expectations impacts employee outcomes.

Keywordsjob performance; trust; Belgium; expectation climate; multilevel study
Year2016
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
Journal citation37 (6), pp. 1024 - 1041
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd
ISSN0143-7720
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-12-2015-0201
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84983752630
Page range1024 - 1041
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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