Repairing trust with individuals vs. groups

Peter H. Kim, Cecily D. Cooper, Kurt T. Dirks, Donald L. Ferrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


This study incorporates insights from research on group decision-making and trust repair to investigate the differences that arise when alleged transgressors attempt to regain the trust of groups as compared to individuals. Results indicate that repairing trust is generally more difficult with groups than individuals, and both groups and individuals were less trusting when trustees denied culpability (rather than apologized) for a competence-based violation or apologized (rather than denied culpability) for an integrity-based violation. However, the interaction of violation-type and violation-response also ultimately affected the relative difficulty of repairing trust with groups vs. individuals, with the greater harshness of groups dissipating when the transgressors' responses were effectively matched with the type of violation. Persuasive argumentation rather than normative pressure, furthermore, mediated these differences. Thus, the sequencing of individual vs. group assessments mattered, such that subsequent group assessments affected initial individual assessments but not the reverse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Apology
  • Competence
  • Denial
  • Group
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Trust repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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