Title page for ETD etd-0130103-070613

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Romano, Donna M.
URN etd-0130103-070613
Title The Nature of Trust: Conceptual and Operational Clarification
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gary J. Greguras Committee Chair
James M. Diefendorff Committee Member
Janet L. McDonald Committee Member
Joseph C. Witt Committee Member
Craig M. Freeman Dean's Representative
  • trust
  • attitude
  • psychometrics
  • attitude measurement
Date of Defense 2002-12-19
Availability unrestricted
The importance of trust in working relationships is widely acknowledged among organizational researchers and practitioners. Unfortunately, trust is defined and measured differently across studies, making it difficult to integrate and compare research findings. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to clarify the nature of trust as it exists across research and organizational settings. First, trust was conceptualized in terms of 10 defining characteristics based on a convergence and reconciliation of inconsistencies among existing definitions. These 10 characteristics of trust were incorporated into a single definition of trust to offer a more comprehensive description of the construct. Second, the Functional Trust Scale (FTS) was constructed to operationalize trust in terms of its 10 defining characteristics to provide a more complete and representative measure of trust that can be applied to a variety of situations. Third, empirical and statistical methods were employed to assess the structure and psychometric properties of the FTS. The results of this study provide initial evidence supporting the FTS and its underlying concept of trust. First, the hypothesized FTS measurement model resulted as the best fitting model among alternate models within two samples. Second, the FTS resulted in conceptual similarity across two applications, suggesting that it is applicable across multiple situations. Third, the internal consistency of the FTS and its sub-scales suggest that it is a reliable measure. Finally, the results provide initial support for the content, face, convergent, and divergent validity of the FTS.
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