Trust within the work context: conceptualisation, measurement and outcomes
Heyns, Martha Magrieta
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Research concerning trust relationships on the interpersonal level, particularly when studied in dyadic relationships from the follower’s point of view, is relatively scarce. Only a few researchers have attempted to link multiple dimensions of trust in the same study. The general aim of this thesis was to examine the nature, measurement and impact of trust within the work context. More specifically, the thesis tests the measurement invariance of a selected trust measurement instrument for male and female South African employees. Thereafter, the interplay between predictors of trust and trust itself is investigated. The thesis concludes with the testing of a structural model that identifies the nature of relationships between trust, psychological needs satisfaction, work engagement and intentions to quit. Throughout the study, the focus is on dyadic relationships where the direct leader is the foci of trust. A cross-sectional survey design was used to gather the data. Two convenience samples were taken of 539 and 252 respondents respectively. The Behavioural Trust Inventory, the Work-related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale, the Work Engagement Scale and the Turnover Intention Scale were administered. The results of study 1 confirmed configural, metric and partial scalar invariance of the Behavioural Trust Inventory across gender. One item that measures one’s willingness to share personal beliefs with a leader demonstrated a lack of scalar invariance for female managers. Results for this item should therefore be treated with caution. Latent factor mean analyses revealed no significant differences between male and female managers on the trust scales. Results for study 2 confirmed the distinctness of trust propensity, trustworthiness and trust as separate main constructs. Trust was strongly associated with trustworthiness beliefs. Trustworthiness beliefs fully mediated the relation between trust propensity and trust. The observed relations between trust propensity and trustworthiness suggest that individuals with a natural predisposition to trust others will be more inclined to perceive a specific trust referent as trustworthy. Results for study 3 provided support for a model in which disclosure-based trust in a focal leader predicts satisfaction of self-determination needs and engagement, but it did not have a statistically significant direct effect on intentions to leave. Mediation analyses revealed that satisfaction of the need for autonomy facilitates the influence of trust on work outcomes, so that the impact of disclosure on engagement becomes more powerful and that it can effectively serve as a pathway to reduce intentions to quit.
- Humanities