Celebrating FOWI's Research Fellow's achievements

The Future of Work Institute is excited to celebrate the achievements of one of our Research Fellows, Zitong Sheng.



Zitong's AOM paper “What Drives Employees’ Trust at Work? A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents Across Referents and Culture” was selected for the Academy of Management (AOM) for “Best Paper with International Implications” award.

And her paper "Where you came from and where you are going: The role of performance trajectory in promotion decisions" has been accepted by Journal of Applied Psychology (JAP).


Below, Zitong has provided a brief summary of the two papers:

In the paper “Where you came from and where you are going: The role of performance trajectory in promotion decisions”, we looked at the role of performance trends beyond performance levels in driving promotion outcomes.

In the past, research has found that one’s performance level is at best a modest predictor of promotion. We showed that it is because performance trend is an important factor that managers also take into consideration when they make decisions regarding promotion. Managers tend to believe that an upward trend will continue in the future after the person is promoted, and we showed that they attribute an upward performance trend to stable virtues of the person such as being proactive, conscientious, or dedicated to one’s job. Quite counterintuitively, but a person who started low but demonstrates an upward trend is even evaluated more positively for promotion than a person who consistently performs at a high level!


Our study suggests that, from a performance evaluation perspective, decision makers should be made aware of this tendency so that the right people get promoted. From the perspective of a newcomer, then there may be dangers in over-performing initially as it leaves little room for improvement later on.


In the paper “What Drives Employees’ Trust at Work? A Meta-Analytic Examination of Antecedents Across Referents and Cultures”, we conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis categorizing the major antecedents of employee’s trust at work, synthesizing evidence from 536 independent samples.

In particular, we found that the trustee’s ability, benevolence, integrity, and leadership are the strongest predictors. Communication between the two parties, HR management practices, and work design factors also have considerable effects predicting of trust. Based on these findings, we further conducted meta-analytic structural equation models to distinguish proximal and distal predictors. Results showed that factors that represent dyadic interactions between two parties and situational characteristics influenced trust indirectly through perceived benevolence and integrity.


More interestingly, we found cultural differences regarding how much importance people place on trustee’s benevolence and integrity: the effects of trustee ability were stronger in cultures that are more assertive but less collective, whereas the effects of trustee benevolence were stronger in cultures that are more collective.


Zitong's research focuses on proactive behaviour, with a special focus on quantitative methods and responsible research practices. She has published a few works in the research methods domain, including one featuring meta-SEM.

Read more about Zitong here.

The Future of Work Institute (FoWI) promotes productive and meaningful work as essential foundations of a healthy economy and society.

FoWI’s researchers focus on how people contribute to and benefit from new knowledge and practices, and their mission is to support thriving people and organisations in the digital age.

The Future of Work Institute acknowledges the Wadjuk Nyungar people as the traditional owners of the land on which the Institute is situated.

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