Chrupala-Pniak, M., Grabowski, D., & Sulimowska-Formowicz, M. (2017). Trust in effective international business cooperation: Mediating effect of work engagement. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 5(2), 27-50. https://doi.org/10.15678/EBER.2017.050202
Background & Theory
This article examines how personal characteristics play a role in the success of inter-organizational relationships (IORs), specifically by evaluating relational competence and its relationship with necessary trust-building factors, and lining this against what the authors feel are character traits that may impact the outcomes of IORs.
Chrupala-Pniak, Grabowski, and Sulimowska-Formowicz, in “Trust in effective international business cooperation: Mediating effect of work engagement” (2017), seek to address the following questions:
- How do trust-building competence, interpersonal trust, trust propensity, situational trust, autonomous motivation, and work engagement impact the outcomes of IORs?
The authors conducted a study that included 210 Polish companies, of which 93% consistently work with international partners. The authors interviewed 210 managers and 982 employees (with fairly equal representation from each company), and evaluated the companies’ relational competence through its 7 categories: partner selection, relation planning, common activities management, integrating, problem solving, knowledge management, and efficiency management. The participants provided information about their companies’ policies and processes in IORs, and the authors took 67 items/routines and split them into the 7 categories above. The participants then were provided this information and asked to check any items they felt they routinely performed and rate themselves on a Likert scale. The authors evaluated their data through a job resources-demand model and through the use of several different analyses (more info in full research section). The authors used Statistica, SPSS.23, and LISREL software as part of their data evaluation process.
The results found a strong tie between situational trust, autonomous motivation, and work engagement, to the point that the authors would lump these together as one variable. It was also found that work engagement can greatly impact an IOR outcome when mediated by relational competence or trust building competence. The more managers are involved and manage their employees was shown to lessen the autonomous motivation and positive work engagement their employees have; this further explains and confirms previous research that shows motivation, work engagement, and situational trust of managers are related. There was a negative relationship between autonomous motivation and an effective IOR outcome, and that at least in the model used here, work engagement was not accurately predicted through either organizational trust nor situational trust. The main takeaway is that employees’ motivation and work engagement have a strong relationship to and heavily influence organizational competences, and thus greatly impact IOR outcomes.
What This Means
- Managers and companies should build a company focused on creating a positive atmosphere; employees who trust their supervisors and feel they are positively contributing (and thus are more personally motivated), ultimately have better work engagement, which no doubt contributes to a more successful company.
- When employees feel bogged down or lack motivation, it inherently can negatively impact the company. Each employee plays a role in the larger success of the company.
- A necessary part of a manager’s job is not only juggling the company responsibilities and overall outcomes, but also helping their employees perform well, which is best accomplished by giving them the tools they need to succeed and building team trust.
For consultants: In organizational conflict, finding ways to first build trust among those involved may help with the mediation process. If simply training an organization, stress the importance of trust building and what it means to be a good leader (manager).
For everyone: Find a company that values you! Finding a company that feels like a great fit and where you have positive relationships with those around you is invaluable, and can greatly help you avoid conflict, as well as have a healthy and happy career.