Research into employee trust: epistemological foundations and paradigmatic boundaries

Siebert, S. , Martin, G. and Bozic, B. (2016) Research into employee trust: epistemological foundations and paradigmatic boundaries. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(3), pp. 269-284. (doi:10.1111/1748-8583.12103)

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Abstract

This article explores the epistemological roots and paradigmatic boundaries of research into employee trust, a growing field in human resource management. Drawing on Burrell and Morgan's well-known sociological paradigms and their epistemological foundations, we identify the dominant approaches to employee trust research to examine its strengths and limitations. Our review of the literature on employee trust revealed that the majority of the most cited papers were written from a psychological perspective, characterised by positivistic methodologies, variance theory explanations and quantitative data collection methods. We also found that most of the studies can be located in the functionalist paradigm, and while accepting that functionalism and psychological positivism have their merits, we argue that research in these traditions sometimes constrains our understanding of employee trust in their organisations. We conclude that trust researchers would benefit from a better understanding of the ontological, epistemological and axiological assumptions underlying of HRM research and should embrace greater epistemic reflexivity.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin, Professor Graeme and Bozic, Mr Branko and Siebert, Professor Sabina
Authors: Siebert, S., Martin, G., and Bozic, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Human Resource Management Journal
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0954-5395
ISSN (Online):1748-8583
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
First Published:First published in Human Resource Management Journal 26(3): 269-284
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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