Assessing the relationship between middle-level management trust and first-level management work engagement within the South African gold mining industry
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Motivation for the study: The study on the trust-engagement linkage was motivated by the recent problems experienced in the SA gold mining sector specifically pertaining to management not living up to their commitments and not caring for its workers. They thus seriously doubted the trustworthiness of management. Research approach, design and method: The goal was to assess the quality of a supervisor’s trustworthiness as perceived by first-level management in their personal, active relationship. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire comprising two scales, namely the WES as adapted by Rich et al. (2010:634) and the Mishra (1996:276-277) trustworthiness scale as adapted by Chughtai (2010:369). In total, 317 completed questionnaires were returned. Data was analysed by means of descriptive statistics and correlational analyses using SPSS version. Main findings: High levels of reliability were found for all the measurement scales used. The results from the correlational analyses indicated positive relationships between the main scales, trustworthiness and employee engagement, as well as between several sub-dimensions of the trustworthiness and employee engagement constructs. Practical/managerial implications: The findings emphasise the role played by middle-level managers in promoting the work engagement of first-level managers through commitment, and being caring and open in their relationships. Future studies should replicate this study to confirm, or reject, its reliability and validity. Contribution/value-add: The core of a strong, positive effect on employee engagement through the trustworthiness of superiors, lies in the visible behaviour of superiors revealing the four characteristics of trustworthiness. The SA gold mining industry faces huge challenges regarding their trustworthiness and the impact this have on employee engagement. By concentrating on the trustworthiness of their management, they most likely will improve the employees’ work engagement.