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Profs consider trust in leadership

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Assistant professors of organizational leadership conducted research on the connection between people’s openness to change and trustworthiness toward those in leadership positions. Haque and Lui analyzed data they gathered from four companies and created a three-step process to help company leaders earn their employees’ trust. Their lecture was part of the weekly Faculty Lecture series. The next lecture, by Kelly Niles-Yokum and Nikki Shipley, will take place noon Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. / photo by Cortney Mace

Assistant professors of organizational leadership MD Haque and Sunny Liu conducted research on the connection between people’s openness to change and trustworthiness toward those in leadership positions. Haque and Lui analyzed data they gathered from four companies and created a three-step process to help company leaders earn their employees’ trust. Their lecture was part of the weekly Faculty Lecture series. The next lecture, by Kelly Niles-Yokum and Nikki Shipley, will take place noon Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. / photo by Cortney Mace

Madison Rubino
Staff Writer

M.D. Haque and Lu (Sunny) Liu, assistant professors of organizational leadership, discussed “The Role of Vision in Organizational Readiness for Change: Toward a Theoretical Model,” Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.

In a room of approximately 10 people, Haque and Liu described their research, methodology, data and findings on the topic of change within an organization.

“Change is a planned process,” Haque said. “It’s usually in three steps. It starts with unfreezing, changing and then refreezing.”

For the past year, Haque and Liu have been conducting their research through a survey they created, which asks participants of four businesses to assess their vision attributes, vision content, readiness for change, trust and psychological empowerment within their organizations.

Vision attributes are brevity, clarity, abstractness, challenge, future orientation, stability, and desirability. Vision content suggest that the content of a vision influences the extent to which the audience becomes inspired by and committed to the vision.

“The purpose of this research is to build a model that tests the relationship between vision and readiness for organizational change directly and through mediating effects of factors, such as psychological empowerment and trust in leadership,” Haque said.

The four businesses that participated in the research survey were a banking institution, an IT company, a healthcare organization and a biotech organization.

“We picked these organizations because we specifically knew from researching that these companies had gone through some type of change within the past few months, which was one of the requirements for the experiment,” Liu said.

The businesses were sent a survey with a series of questions, which participants were asked to agree or disagree with such as “Change usually helps improve satisfactory situations at work” in the readiness for change section.

Haque and Liu developed three hypotheses for their research. Hypothesis one stated that vision, characterized by vision attributes and content, is positively related to readiness for change, while hypothesis two stated that trust is positively related to readiness for change and the effect of vision, on readiness for change is partially mediated through trust. Hypothesis three stated that empowerment is positively related to readiness for change and the effect of vision is partially mediated through empowerment.

“The most important thing they talked about was the idea of trust,” said Donna Bentley, research and instruction librarian at the University of La Verne. “Trust is becoming more of a commodity in today’s world. Leaders who don’t instill trust in their followers are doomed to fail. Without that trust you are not really a leader, you are a dictator.”

Through the findings of the experiments, hypothesis one was proven correct. Haque and Liu created a theoretical model of change which proved that the variables of vision attributes and vision content have a direct correlation to readiness for change.

The variables of trust in leadership and perceived empowerment are the “mediators,” which mean they partly affect the relationship of vision and readiness for change.

“I am currently conducting major research project studying innovation and planned change,” Kent Badger, professor of health service management, said. “This presentation was extremely intellectually honest in a way that they made a clear distinction between innovation and planned change.”

Madison Rubino can be reached at madison.rubino@laverne.edu.

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