High-Trust Culture, the Elusive Context of Shared Leadership in Highly Specialized Organizations
37 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 21, 2013
A major interest and prime right of talented, educated and expert employees of highly specialized organizations is having fair opportunities to contribute their faculties to problem-solving, decision-making and innovation beyond their specific roles. However, managers’ authority is legitimized by their presumed superior capability for such contributions; if employee contributions surpass managers’ this may undermine managers’ authority. Though managers are supposed to encourage employee contributions, structurally they are hindered. High-trust cultures mitigate this problem by encouraging cooperative learning, problem-solving, and innovation, but they are elusive, often transient and under-studied, depend on managers’ choosing vulnerable involvement and shared servant transformational leadership. However, leadership research missed this dependency which was found by a managerially educated, insider-outsider ex-manager ethnographer in outsider-managed, mostly low-trust factories in which a few involved managers created high-trust cultures and encouraged informal democracy for some years. Further study of high-trust cultures and the decisive managerial choice of either involvement or detachment is proposed.
Keywords: high-trust culture, informal democracy, inside/outside managers, managerial involvement/detachment, transformational leadership
JEL Classification: J59, L64, M14, M54, O32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation