Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Randall Capps, Larry Caillouet, Joseph Cangemi

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Over 1700 employees of the General Motors Corporation defined trust and described personal work experiences that affected their trust toward the organization. These employee comments were factor analyzed to determine the dimensions of organizational trust. An instrument was developed from employee comments to measure the level of trust in a GM location. With the level of trust quantified, the demographic effects on trust and the relationship between trust and management's communication effectiveness were investigated.

This approach provided new knowledge of trust in an industrial environment. Three dimensions of organizational trust were identified: Openness/Congruity, Shared Values, and Autonomy/Feedback. Age, length of service, and whether or not an employee had experienced a lay-off had significant effects on trust. A linear relationship was found between trust and employee perceptions of management's effectiveness in communicating. A conceptual model of organizational trust was developed using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a framework.


Business | Communication | Human Resources Management | Organizational Communication | Performance Management | Social and Behavioral Sciences