Investigating the relationship between interpersonal trust and innovation within a petrochemical organisation
Jearey, Andrew David
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It is generally accepted that innovation of product, services and/or technologies, whether gradual or radical, is a source of competitive advantage for new and existing businesses. Adapting to changes in a volatile global market environment is a prerequisite for the sustainability of any business. The primary objective of this study is to explore the relationship between the cognitive, affective, lateral and vertical dimensions of interpersonal trust and organisational innovativeness within the Sasol Polymers, Chlor Alkali Business. In order to achieve the abovementioned objective, a literature review was conducted and a quantitative study undertaken using a target group of 189 individuals within the business. Primary data collection was undertaken in the form of a questionnaire which was compiled using items from standardised questionnaires published by previous researchers. Interpretation of the data revealed that the respondents are only moderately positive about the levels of interpersonal trust and organisational innovativeness within the business. In addition to this, although no causal relationship is implied, the research results revealed a practically significant positive correlation between the overall lateral, vertical, cognitive and affective-based trust constructs and the overall organisational innovativeness construct. The recommendation of this study centres on reinforcing all three facets of the trustworthiness construct mentioned in Meyer et al.’s (1995) model by constantly reminding people of the importance of “living” the Sasol Values. In addition to trustworthiness, the concept is further bolstered by firstly, ensuring that the competency and skills set gaps are identified and rectified, secondly, by continuously demonstrating caring behaviours and, thirdly, by ensuring that all interactions are governed by a set of accepted ethical behaviours.
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