Initial development of perceptions of ability and intent factors of (un)trustworthiness in short-term teams

Keaton A. Fletcher, James K. Summers, Wendy L. Bedwell-Torres, Stephen E. Humphrey, Sarah E. Thomas, P. Scott Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individual perceptions of team trustworthiness are critical antecedents to the development of relationships within teams. Yet, clarity is needed regarding the focus of these individual perceptions and how they change, particularly at the outset of team interactions. Two distinct research streams have emerged regarding trustworthiness. One proposes a difference between perceived ability and intent, whereas the other proposes a difference between confident positive and negative expectations of others. Regardless of their structure, theory suggests that perceptions of team trustworthiness ought to develop across performance episodes as individuals identify more with their team and have more information about how they are performing. We explore these relationships across three distinct performance episodes in newly formed short-term teams. Our results support a four-factor model of trustworthiness within the context of short-term, lab-based teams. Further, perceptions regarding teammates' abilities tended to change quickly and curvilinearly while those regarding teammates' intents changed linearly. Positive team performance signals bolstered individual perceptions of team trustworthiness in ability and intent but not perceived team untrustworthiness. Negative team performance signals bolstered individual perceptions of team untrustworthiness in ability and intent while harming both types of individual perceptions of team trustworthiness. This study supports propositions from the model of trust over time and lays the groundwork for a comprehensive approach toward trust research within teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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