Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Katherine Chaddock


The purpose of this study was to enhance the understanding of the trust relationship between deans and their faculty members during the dean's succession. Prompted by literature that argued for the need to better understand the important leadership aspect of trust among faculty members and their deans, it surveyed faculty members to determine the level and nature of that of trust (Astin & Astin, 2000; Bess & Dee, 2008; Kezar, 2004).

The framework for this study was an integrative model of organizational trust developed by Mayer, et al. (1995) that incorporates the perceived trustworthiness of the dean, amount of risk the faculty member is willing to take with their dean, and the faculty member's innate propensity to trust. The study involved faculty members from Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities, as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where the college or school appointed a new dean in 2009. The study addressed two research questions. The first question asked to what extent faculty members trust their new dean. Results of the repeated measures analysis of variance showed that ability and integrity scores are higher than benevolence scores. In addition, propensity to trust did not correlate with the overall trustworthiness score. However, propensity to trust did correlate with the trust scores.

The second research question inquired about what factors relating to gender and familiarity/ contact most affect the trust relationship between the deans and their faculty. The factors explored were: dean gender, faculty gender, the interaction between faculty and dean gender, whether the discipline had an historically male or female deanship, the interaction between dean gender and discipline, prior relationship between the faculty member and new dean, level of professional contact, level of social contact, whether or not the dean was a previous faculty member at their current institution and faculty rank. Regression analysis revealed that factors most affecting the trust relationship were faculty rank, dean gender, whether the dean was in a discipline historically associated with his or her gender, and the level of professional contact and social contact between deans and their faculty members.


© 2011, Elizabeth White-Hurst