Developing Trust: The Importance of Cognitive Flexibility and Co-Operative Contexts

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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This research investigates relationships between group cognitive make-up, co-operative context, and the development of interpersonal trust. Results show that groups composed of individuals with similar cognitive processes are more trusting and achieve higher levels of performance than heterogeneous groups. Roy and Dugal outline the motivation and results of this study. Technological advancements are changing the competitive landscape in most industries. Many organizations are modifying both inter- and intra-organizational structures to address the resultant competition. These modifications largely focus on increased small group co-operation. In the execution of these changes managers frequently assume that employees will adapt to new co-operative forms. In the adaptive process, previous research documents the importance of trust for successful co-operation during organizational changes. Roy and Dugal recognize the importance of evaluating and considering two important factors prior to assigning groups to change teams: cognitive flexibility; and front loading group activities with collaborative decision processes.