Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders
Chapter 17: Measuring Trust in Organizational Contexts: An Overview of Survey-based Measures
Nicole Gillespie INTRODUCTION 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 a 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 aims to provide researchers with insights 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 Behavioral Trust Inventory. The rationale, methodology and challenges involved in developing this inventory are described, along with its validity and appropriate application. Before discussing the measurement of trust, it is essential first to clarify what we mean by trust. In the organizational literature, there has been increasing convergence on the defining conceptual features of trust. Since the seminal work of Mayer et al. (1995), organizational researchers have increasingly defined trust as ‘the willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of another party.’ In a...
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