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Trust and career satisfaction: the role of LMX

The Authors
Guohong (Helen) Han, Department of Management, Williamson College of Business Administration, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio, USA Abstract
Purpose – This study examines the mediator of Leader-member Exchange (LMX) between trust in peers and one's perception of career satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach – This is an empirical paper based on a field study conducted among 241 employees at a Fortune 500 company in the United States. The results support the mediating role of LMX between trust in peers and career satisfaction.

Findings – This empirical study establishes that in addition to cultivating employees' trust in management, the enhancement of employees' trust in their peers can help them to become more satisfied with their career advancement. However, this positive association between trust in peers and career satisfaction has to be supported by a good quality relationship between the employee and his/her supervisor. To illustrate, if employees place high trust in their peers, then they are more likely to form a high quality relationship with their supervisors, and ultimately more likely to enjoy career success.

Research limitations/implications – This finding addresses concerns about the mechanisms by which employee attitudes contribute to one's perception of career satisfaction.

Practical implications – It is of great importance to foster employees' trust in their peers against the background of conditions exacerbated by today's unfavorable economy. This study reinforces the crucial role of leadership which not only plays an important role of improving employees' perception of career success, but also affects the relationship between trust in peers and career satisfaction.

Originality/value – To the best of my knowledge, this is the first field study that has examined the mediating role of LMX between trust in peers and career satisfaction. Article Type:
Research paper
Keyword(s):
Trust; Career satisfaction; Employee development; Trust.
Journal:
Career Development International
Volume:
15
Number:
5
Year:
2010
pp:
437-458
Copyright ©
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN:
1362-0436
It has been argued that one of the most important factors that employees consider when joining or staying with an employer is the extent of the scope for career development and opportunities for growth (Cappelli, 2000). Owing to a distressed economy, not only the ordinary employees but even executives who thought they were on solid career paths are now concerned about their professional futures (Goldsmith, 2008). Faced with the cruel reality of salary bonus freezes and mass layoffs, the challenge to increase employees' career satisfaction becomes even more difficult under the given circumstances. Although research has provided us with some determinants of career outcomes, such as demographics (e.g. Greenhaus et al., 1990), human capital (e.g. Bretz and Judge, 1994), and motivational variables (e.g. Judge et al., 1995), Ng and his colleagues (Ng et al., 2005) argue in their meta analytical review that only a limited range of variables have been investigated as predictors of career success. Furthermore, Seibert et al. (2001) indicated that there has been limited research in exploring the role of informal interpersonal behaviors in career outcomes. In an attempt to respond to these calls, this study examines whether the two interpersonal variables – trust in peers and Leader-member Exchange (LMX), can help an individual's career satisfaction in the organization. The first variable as a potential antecedent of career satisfaction in this paper is trust in peers. I was motivated to examine this variable because of two reasons. First, a great deal of previous research has demonstrated that trust is an important factor in the work place. Trust is viewed as one of the key cornerstones of the foundation for any organization (Barnard,...
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