Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series
Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders
Chapter 20: Survey measures of trust in organizational contexts: an overview
This chapter identifies the strengths and limitations of measuring trust through survey scales, drawing on recent reviews, as well as personal experience developing the Behavioural Trust Inventory. Practical strategies for increasing the validity of the psychometric measurement of trust are outlined, including recommendations for choosing appropriate survey trust measures. The organizational trust literature has burgeoned over the past two decades. Whilst this expanding research has produced increasing coherence on the conceptualization and definition of trust, the same cannot be said about the psychometric measurement of trust. Rather, the measurement of trust has received scant attention, resulting in the highly fragmented and idiosyncratic use of trust measures, and a confusing array of instruments that vary widely in construct validity and the number and type of trust dimensions (McEvily and Tortoriello, 2011). This chapter provides insight into the issues and challenges involved in measuring trust in organizational settings through survey measures. Drawing on existing reviews, as well as my own review of the literature, I discuss the strengths and limitations of the psychometric measurement of trust, and provide recommendations for choosing appropriate trust instruments. I conclude by reflecting on my experience of searching for an appropriate trust scale and how this led to the development of a new scale, the Behavioural Trust Inventory. The rationale, methodology and challenges involved in developing this inventory are described, along with its validity and appropriate application.
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