The Central Role of Communication in Developing Trust and its Effect on Employee Involvement
Thomas, Gail Fann
Hartman, Jackie L.
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Communication plays an important role in the development of trust within an organization. While a number of researchers have studied the relationship of trust and communication, little is known about the specific linkages among quality of information, quantity of information, openness, trust, and outcomes such as employee involvement. This study tests these relationships using communication audit data from 218 employees in the oil industry. Using mediation analysis and structural equation modeling, we found that quality of information predicted trust of one’s coworkers and supervisors while adequacy of information predicted one’s trust of top management. Trust of coworkers, supervisors, and top management influenced perceptions of organizational openness, which in turn influenced employees’ ratings of their own level of involvement in the organization’s goals. This study suggests that the relationship between communication and trust is complex, and that simple strategies focusing on either quality or quantity of information may be ineffective for dealing with all members in an organization.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021943609333522
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