Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Trust; Disadvantage; Socioeconomic Status;
Early work on trust in social science highlighted how the lack of trust between individuals can cause social division, contribute to social stratification, and reduce economic opportunities for people from all social groups.The authors integrate this work with organizational research on antecedents of trust to generate predictions explaining when and why low employee socioeconomic status (SES) can be a barrier to trust. They discuss how this process can impair the success of both organizations as well as their lower-SES employees. We present a model, and data, suggesting that lower-SES employees will be both more distrusted as well as more distrustful relative to their higher-SES colleagues.This, in turn, locks them out of potentially advantageous social and economic exchanges. This theory adds precision in detecting when and why lower-SES employees face barriers to success in organizations, as well as provides a blueprint for studying the impact of trust on socially disadvantaged groups in organizations.