Human Resource Management Practices and Trust in Public Organizations

Yoon Jik Cho, Theodore H. Poister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Trust has been acknowledged as a valuable managerial resource within organizations. Working as a lubricant of organizational functioning, trust reduces opportunistic behaviours while it increases voluntary compliance to organizational norms and rules as well as enhancing individual and organizational performance. Considering the importance of trust, it is worthwhile to explore what factors may help build trust within organizations. This research investigates whether perceptions of several human resource management (HRM) practices are associated with trust in government organizations. According to social exchange theory, HRM practices signal management's commitment to employees which in turn leads to greater trust in the organization. Using data from an employee survey conducted for the Georgia Department of Transportation in 2007, this research tests how employee perceptions of HRM practices are related to trust in three distinct levels of management in a large department of state government: trust in department leadership, trust in one's leadership team, and trust in one's supervisor. Binary logit analyses suggest that perceptions of HRM practices focusing on autonomy, compensation, communication, performance appraisal, and career development are associated with trust in public organizations. According to the result, those practices present variation in their leverage on trust in leadership at different levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-838
Number of pages23
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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