At the Heart of Trust: Understanding the Integral Relationship Between Emotion and Trust

Academic Article


  • Trust and emotion have been among the most influential and frequently studied constructs in organizational behavior over the last two decades. Although emotion would seem to be integral to interpersonal trust, it has played a minor part in the literature. This article is intended to advance understanding of emotion’s role in shaping trust judgments to help bring this concept into the central conversation on trust within organizations. Our paper begins with a review of existing research to help understand how emotion fits within the nomological network of trust and to identify some of the key insights from empirical research. The review suggests emotion impacts trust in two fundamentally different ways, based on independent streams of research, by how it is experienced as a trustor and expressed by the trustee. We provide a conceptual model that integrates these different perspectives as well as brings in key ideas which are absent from research on organizational trust: (a) using a validated and more sophisticated model of trust and trustworthiness will add greater insight into how emotion impacts trust, (b) experienced and expressed emotions jointly and interactively affect trust, (c) trust and emotion operate at multiple levels of analysis, including dyadic and network, and (d) trust and emotion change over time as a function of each other. We conclude that there is much opportunity for future research on trust and emotion, and suggest future directions.
  • Authors

  • Lee, Jonathan I
  • Dirks, Kurt T
  • Campagna, Rachel
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • August 16, 2022
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • conflict or conflict management
  • emotion
  • trust
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 546
  • End Page

  • 580
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 2