ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B
主办:中国心理学会
   中国科学院心理研究所
出版:科学出版社

心理学报

• •    

“激将法”会激发还是打击员工?感知能力不被领导信任的“双刃剑”效应

卢海陵1,杨洋2,2,王永丽3,张昕3,4,4   

  1. 1. 南京理工大学经济管理学院
    2.
    3. 中山大学管理学院
    4. 香港中文大学
  • 收稿日期:2020-06-08 修回日期:2021-08-02 出版日期:2021-08-06 发布日期:2021-08-06
  • 通讯作者: 王永丽
  • 基金资助:
    国家自然科学基金面上项目;国家自然科学基金青年项目

Does Distrust Motivate or Discourage Employees? The Double-Edged Sword of Feeling Ability-Distrusted by Supervisors

1, 1,1,yongli 1,Xin 1,1,2   

  1. 1.
    2. The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Received:2020-06-08 Revised:2021-08-02 Online:2021-08-06 Published:2021-08-06
  • Contact: yongli

摘要: 感知能力不被领导信任是信任研究的重要内容。已有研究普遍认为感知不被领导信任会对员工的自我产生不利影响。相反,传统领导方式“激将法”则认为领导的不信任可以刺激员工展现更好的自我。为了解释上述矛盾,本研究基于自我评价理论和心理逆反理论,采用实验研究和多源多时间点问卷调查研究方法,探讨了感知能力不被领导信任对员工自我的“双刃剑”效应及边界条件。研究结果表明,当员工感知领导能力较强时,感知能力不被领导信任会通过降低员工的工作效能感削弱员工的工作努力和绩效表现;当员工感知领导能力较弱时,感知能力不被领导信任会通过增强员工证明自我能力动机提升员工的工作努力和绩效表现。

关键词: 感知能力不被领导信任, 感知领导能力, 工作自我效能感, 证明自我能力动机, 工作努力

Abstract: Feeling trusted by supervisors is not only beneficial for employees’ job attitude and performance, but also for organizational effectiveness. Feeling ability-distrusted, defined as “the extent to which a subordinate perceives that his/her leader evaluates his/her ability to be untrustworthy", is a crucial part of trust research. Previous research has uniformly revealed that feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors is detrimental to employee’s self-concept. Nevertheless, this prevailing assumption leaves our understandings on trust incomplete. Traditional Chinese management practice (e.g., “Jijiangfa”) has suggested that supervisors’ distrust may encourage employees to exhibit better self. However, limited attention has been paid to the potential positive influences of employees' feeling ability-distrusted by their supervisors on their self-concept. For example, when employees perceive ability-distrust from their supervisors, they may lose their confidence in their abilities, or be motivated to prove their abilities. Thus, more important questions are, whether feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors has both positive and negative effects on subordinates’ self-concept, and if so, why? To address these questions, drawing upon self-evaluation theory and psychological reactant theory, we examine the effects of feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors on employee’s job self-efficacy and desire to prove their abilities, which in turn influence employee work effort, and job performance. Furthermore, we examine the moderating effect of perceived supervisor competence on the relationships between feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors and employee job self-efficacy or employee desire to prove their abilities. We conducted one experiment (Study 1) and two multi-wave field studies (Study 3) to test our hypothesis. In Study 1, we designed a 2 (feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors: high vs. neutral) × 2 (perceived supervisor competence: high vs. low) experiment, with 4 different scenarios. The scenarios described the interaction at work between employee named Wang Chen and his/her supervisor. We recruited 164 (a response rate of 86.3%) undergraduates form a university and assigned participants randomly to one of four scenarios. Each participant read the scenario and took on the role of Wang Chen. Next, participants reported job self-efficacy, desire to prove their abilities, manipulation check, and demographics. In Study 2, we initially recruited 227 employees and their immediate supervisors (n = 45) from an insurance company in southern China. Employees were asked to report their feeling ability-distrusted by their supervisors, job self-efficacy, desire to prove abilities, work effort, perceived supervisor competence, and demographic information. One week later, supervisors were asked to report their subordinate’s job performance. Before starting to respond the surveys, participants were informed that the survey data would be confidential and only used for academic research. Finally, we received 195 pairs (40 supervisors) of matched and usable data for our final sample (a response rate of 85.9%). In Study 3, we surveyed 266 (a response rate of 85.3%) employees and their supervisors across 65 workgroups. The employees reported feeling ability-distrusted by their supervisors, perceived supervisor competence and demographic information. One month later, employees were required to assess job self-efficacy, desire to prove their abilities and work effort. Supervisors were invited to rate employees’ job performance. Results showed that when perceived supervisor competence was high, feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors was negatively associated with job self-efficacy, which in turn, decreased employee work effort and task performance. On the other hand, when perceived supervisor competence was low, feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors was positively associated with employee’s desire to prove their abilities, which in turn increased employee work effort and task performance. This study makes several theoretical contributions. First, we contribute to the literature on trust by challenging the consensus that feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors is unequivocally detrimental to employee’s self-concept. Second, we contribute to the literature on trust by identifying an important boundary condition for the effects of feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors. From the perspective of perceived credibility of evaluation information, we found that perceived supervisor competence moderated the effects of feeling ability distrusted. Finally, we contribute to the literature on work effort by identifying an important but neglected antecedent of employee work effort. We suggest that beyond leaders’ positive behavior, their negative behaviors (e.g., expressed distrust) may also lead to employees’ increased work effort when employees perceived supervisor competence is low.

Key words: feeling ability-distrusted by supervisors, perceived supervisor competence, job self-efficacy, desire to prove ability, work effort