The relationship between perceived organisational support and workplace trust: an exploratory study
James, Laura Juliet
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As organisations struggle to meet the demands placed on them by contextual challenges, they place more emphasis on relationships for effective organisational functioning. Trust is a critical component of workplace relationships and has been linked to numerous beneficial organisational outcomes. However, as trust is difficult for organisations to influence directly, Perceived Organisational Support may encompass a set of actions organisations can take that directly create workplace trust. The aim of this study was to elucidate the relationship between workplace trust and Perceived Organisational Support. Workplace trust was examined as a three-dimensional model, with the trust referent (Organisation, Immediate Manager, Co-Workers) forming each dimension. Perceived Organisational Support was examined as a two-dimensional model, based on performance-reward expectancies (“Contribution”) or socio-emotional need fulfilment (“Well-being”). A multi-method survey methodology yielded n = 212 participants in a South African organisation. The consolidated questionnaire sought biographical information from the sample as well as their responses to the Workplace Trust Survey and the Survey of Perceived Organisational Support. The reliability coefficients of the Workplace Trust Survey, Survey of Perceived Organisational Support and each of the dimensions were established as sufficient. Next, Confirmatory Factor Analysis confirmed that a three-dimensional factor structure for workplace trust and a two-dimensional factor structure for Perceived Organisational Support can and should be used in a South African sample. Correlation analysis indicated a significant, positive relationship between each dimension of workplace trust and both of the dimensions of Perceived Organisational Support. Regression analysis confirmed that Perceived Organisational Support contributes to a significant proportion of the variance in workplace trust. However, there was one exception: The Contribution dimension of Perceived Organisational Support did not contribute significantly to Trust in Co-workers. This research, based on a South African sample, confirms much of the previous international research into the relationship between Perceived Organisational Support and workplace trust. In addition, it makes two new contributions to the field. First, it found that Perceived Organisational Support can and should be considered a two-dimensional construct in a South African sample. This is in contrast with international studies that indicate a uni-dimensional construct for Perceived Organisational Support. Second, by using the two-dimensional Perceived Organisational Support construct, it found that only the Well-being, and not the Contribution, dimension of Perceived Organisational Support had a significant, positive impact on workplace trust. Recommendations are made for future research, based on limitations of the current study as well as on the research results.
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