This study examines how organizational trust affects temporary, inter-agency group reliability. Knowledge gained from this study can help ensure that organizational trust in high reliability organizations is adequately addressed in organizational training and hazardous release response plans. This information can potentially increase hazardous material team effectiveness in protecting human health and the environment when responding to hazardous material releases. A quantitative methodology utilizing surveys was used in this study. The survey data were collected using three validated survey instruments. The Jarvepaa, Knoll, and Leidner (1998) Propensity Trust Scale provided insight to the trustor's tendency to trust others and measured one of the independent personal characteristics variables. The Organizational Trust Inventory-Short Form developed by Cummings and Bromiley, (1996) was selected to measure the dependent variable organizational trust indicating the trustor's perception of other team member's trustworthiness. Mayer and Gavin (2005) Trust in Management Measure was used to measure the dependent variable of the expert trust or trustor's perception of the expert's trustworthiness. The expert is also the incident commander of the temporary, inter-agency group or hazardous materials (hazmat) response team. A purposive sample of the hazmat first responders (trustors) was collected using SurveyMonkey, online survey software. The population for this study included 251 individuals serving on hazmat response teams. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results of the quantitative instruments that surveyed participants with hazmat response training or experience. Different statistical methods were used to evaluate the data. The parametric analysis of variance (ANOVA) and non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests were used to evaluate data statistical relationships. The Pearson r correlation method evaluated data of continuous variables. Post hoc statistical tests provided additional insight to data evaluation. Findings indicated that that hazmat response teams work together in an effective and professional manner no matter if coworkers in the temporary, inter-agency group are strangers or not in order to reliably perform the emergency cleanup. Further, this study identified the trustor's personal characteristics that inhibit the development of trustworthiness between the incident commander (expert) and subordinates. This study also identified personal characteristics that hinder the trust among team members in a hazmat response team.
|Adviser||Judith L. Forbes|
|Subjects||Management; Environmental studies; Environmental justice|
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