Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Irving, Justin


This study investigated a potential path to foster trust in two levels of college and university leadership (direct leaders and senior leadership). Two direct leader empowering leadership behaviors (participative decision-making and informing) where explored as antecedents of trust. The population studied was full-time faculty members at mid-sized not-for-profit colleges and universities in the Great Lakes region. Direct leader’s participative decision-making related positively with trust in direct leader. Evidence of trust transfer through a hierarchical layer of leadership was also found. Direct leader’s participative decision-making related positively to trust in senior leadership, but only when mediated by trust in direct leader. When the mediating effect of trust in direct leader was isolated from the relationship between direct leader’s participative decision-making and trust in senior leadership, participative decision-making had a negative relationship with trust in senior leadership. Hypothesized relationships between informing and trust in both levels of leadership were not supported.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation