Daily Mistrust: A Resource Perspective of its Implications For Work and Home

March 2018 | Koopman, Joel

Mistrust is a daily occurrence at work. Yet little is known about how perceptions of being mistrusted by coworkers may affect employees’ subsequent daily attitudes and behaviors. Indeed, the existing literature on mistrust has overwhelmingly focused on how mistrust affects the trustor (person whose trust is violated) but not the trustee (the mistrusted person). This is problematic because conservation of resources theory (COR) suggests that perceived mistrust is a negative experience likely to affect the mistrusted employees’ subsequent attitudes and behaviors both at work and at home. To investigate this possibility, we conducted an experience sampling study of employees and their significant others over 3 consecutive workweeks. Consistent with COR, day by day perceptions of mistrust increased employees’ emotional exhaustion, consequently leading to withdrawal from colleagues at work and conflict toward their significant other at home. Moreover, supporting self‐enhancement (rather than self‐verification) theory, these effects were stronger when employees perceived mistrust to be high (vs. low) in justification. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of this research.



  • Klodiana Lanaj
  • Peter Kim
  • Fadel Matta


Personnel Psychology

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