1. bookVolume 55 (2022): Issue 1 (February 2022)
Journal Details
First Published
17 Oct 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Knowing When and How to Trust Superiors’ Decisions: Toward a Conceptual Model of Subordinate Managers’ Behavior

Published Online: 08 Mar 2022
Volume & Issue: Volume 55 (2022) - Issue 1 (February 2022)
Page range: 50 - 63
Received: 27 Aug 2021
Accepted: 18 Dec 2021
Journal Details
First Published
17 Oct 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Background/Purpose: The study explores subordinate managers’ propensity to trust superiors’ decisions. Its purpose is twofold: first, to provide lower-level managers with a tool to know when and how to trust superiors’ decisions for a better organizational performance, and second, to lay the foundations for the development of a conceptual model of subordinate managers’ behavior.

Methods: The research philosophy adopts an inductive content analysis perspective. A mixed-methods research design is applied, using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Data is collected through questionnaire, focus groups, interviews, and literature review. A total number of 219 managers from eight Bulgarian business organizations filled the questionnaire and 92 of them participated in group discussions and interviews.

Results: The majority of the managers surveyed tend to trust their immediate superiors. As a result of group discussions, the main advantages and disadvantages of managers with opposing attitudes toward trust are identified. A decision tree model of subordinate manager’s appropriate behaviors is proposed.

Conclusion: Inferior managers can have an active role in managing trust in their superiors’ decisions. Several situational factors, including superior’s competence and integrity, and organizational culture, determine the degree of trust that the subordinate manager should observe concerning the decisions and requests of the immediate superior.


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