Interpersonal Trust in Brunei Public and Private Sector Employees

  • Lawrence MundiaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_3851-1

Synonyms

Definition

Mutually beneficial relationship between individuals, individuals and an organization, several organizations, and countries.

Introduction

Trust is a complex and multidimensional concept that is either interpersonal, institutional, or organizational in nature (Krot and Lewicka 2012). Krot and Lewicka (2012) expanded on this and pointed out that there were different dimensions of trust (e.g., competence, benevolence, and integrity) and several types of trust (e.g., horizontal or lateral trust between co-workers and vertical trust between employees and managers). Based on Krot and Lewicka (2012), trust was thus an important component of professional relationships between co-workers as well as between managers and employees. In their study, Krot and Lewicka (2012) found that integrity was the most important dimension of trust in relationships between co-workers, while benevolence was the most important dimension of trust in relationships between employees and managers. Ample empirical evidence suggests that positive trust-building practices between managers and workers lead to high productivity and organizational commitment in both public and private organizations (see Hassan et al. 2012). Matzler and Renzl (2006) argued that interpersonal trust in peers and management strongly influenced employee job satisfaction. In turn, employee satisfaction was an important driver of productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction (Matzler and Renzl 2006). Other researchers (e.g., Semerciöz et al. 2011) also found that trust between co-workers was positively associated with strategic innovativeness and that trust in general had a strong influence on a variety of organizational phenomena such as employee and team performance, reducing counterproductive behaviors, and increasing organizational revenue or profit. Stack (1978) suggested that interpersonal trust (IT) was a form of confidence, reliance, and faith in a person. Wrightsman (1991) implied that IT was reflective of the reliability (dependability) and validity (credibility) a person assumed in or expected from interactions and relationships with others.

Objectives of the Study

The purpose of the present study was to investigate and determine for the first time the prevalence of interpersonal trust (IT) in Brunei public and private sector employees. A study similar to the current research has not been done before in Brunei. It is hoped the results will help reduce the existing literature and knowledge gaps on this issue.

Methods

Design

A quantitative field survey was preferred and used. This strategy enabled two trained research assistants to go out to government Ministries, Departments, and companies and directly collect the required data.

Participants

The public sector had 137,300 labor force throughout Brunei who constituted the sampling frame (Department of Economic Planning and Development 2015). The total number of workers in the private sector was not known at the time of conducting the present study. Using the simple random sampling technique, 822 participants were recruited from the public sector. However, only 38 persons were recruited from the private sector due to potential participants’ general lack of interest to volunteer for the study. The two selections gave a composite sample of 860. Employees who met the following 5-point inclusion/exclusion criteria were recruited: (1) persons of all genders, ethnicities, religions, and age; (2) full Brunei citizens and permanent residents; (3) employed in the public or private sector; (4) willingly volunteered to participate in the study; and (5) participants whose protocols were not heavily contaminated with common method bias, CMB (see Podsakoff et al. 2003). A sample of 860 was considered sufficient and acceptable to compute stable statistics at p = 0.05 or p = 0.01 (see Krejcie and Morgan (1970). The personal characteristics of the participants are presented in Table 1.
Table 1

Participants’ demographic information (N = 860)

Variable

Gender

Number (%)

Mean (SD)

Gender

All

860 (100%)

37.690 (9.045)

 

Females

613 (71.300%)

37.690 (9.262)

 

Males

247(28.700%)

37.710 (8.516)

Race

Group

Malay

Chines

Others

Missing

Frequency

810

25

22

1

Percentage

94.200

2.900

2.600

0.300

Religion

Muslim

Non-Muslim

No religion

Missing

837

12

10

1

97.300

1.400

1.200

0.300

Citizenship

Brunei citizen

Permanent resident

Missing

831

26

3

96.600

3.000

0.400

Education

Low (primary to year 13)

Middle (post-secondary to diploma)

High (Bachelor’s degree to doctoral degree)

Missing

362

194

301

3

42.100

22.600

35.000

0.300

Employer

Public sector (government)

Private sector (nongovernment)

822

38

95.600

4.400

Marital status

Single (never married)

Married

Divorced (17)/widowed (7)

221

615

24

25.700

71.500

2.800

Do you have children?

Yes

No

Missing

571

286

3

66.400

33.300

0.300

District

Brunei-Muara

Tutong

Kuala Belait

Temburong

Missing

721

104

20

10

5

83.800

12.100

2.300

1.200

0.600

Who do you live with

Alone

Parents

In-laws

Family members (siblings)

Spouse and children

Missing

27

296

57

73

384

23

3.100

34.400

6.600

8.500

44.700

2.700

Do you stay/live in your own house

Yes

No

Missing

502

356

2

58.400

41.400

0.200

Are you the chief wage earner in your household?

Yes

No

Missing

282

561

17

32.800

65.200

2.000

Instruments

Study used two instruments. Part A was a 16-item demographic questionnaire constructed by the researcher (see Table 1). Part B consisted of 10 items from the Interpersonal Trust Scale, ITS (Rotter 1967) that measured the level of interpersonal trust. The items were rated on 5-point semantic differential scales (e.g., To what extent do you trust your co-workers or supervisor, or boss? Circle one number for your response: Do not trust at all 1 2 3 4 5 Trust completely).

The 10 items generated one exploratory factor analysis (EFA) factor, named interpersonal trust (eigen value >1; average item loading ≥0.400). The scale had adequate construct validity (common variance accounted = 67.234%). Based on the current study’s sample data, the instrument’s alpha reliability was 0.911 (Scale mean = 31.700; SEmean = 0.237; SD = 6.956; Median = 32.000; average nonspurious item-total correlation = 0.703). Low scorers on the interpersonal trust scale did not trust (distrusted) other people.

Procedures

The present study was funded by the Brunei Research Council (BRC) in the Government of Brunei Darussalam through the University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD), a state tertiary institution. Written permission and approval to conduct the study were obtained from the University of Brunei Darussalam Ethics on behalf of the Brunei Research Council.

Data Analysis

All the independent variables, IVs (sociodemographics) were categorical. The dependent variable DV (interpersonal trust total scores) was dichotomized at the median to facilitate the use of logistic regression. Low scorers on the DV were coded one (1), while higher scorers were coded zero (0). The quantitative data were then analyzed using descriptive statistics and hierarchical binary logistic regression analysis. To make decisions on the importance of the findings, two-tailed tests of statistical significance at both p = 0.05 and p = 0.01 levels and tests of statistical power such as effect sizes and model fit chi-square indices for binary logist regression analyses were used. All the statistical analyses were performed on the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, SPSS (Version 22).

Results

Compared to workers with a high education (reference group), employees with low education were far less likely to have high interpersonal trust for other people (B = −0.499, p <0.01; Adjusted Odds Ratio, AOR = 0.607; 95% Confidence Interval, CI = 0.451–0.818). However, employees who sought help from family members when faced with problems were 1.3 times more likely to have high interpersonal trust in others compared to those who did not get such help (B = 0.270, p <0.05; AOR = 1.310, 95% CI = 1.025–1.674). Similarly, workers who get help from the Ustad (religious person or teacher, e.g., Imam) had also high likelihood of possessing interpersonal trust for others compared to those who did not consult the Ustad, religious leader (B = 0.400, p <0.05; AOR = 1.491, 95% CI = 1.036–2.147). An employee who was the chief wage earner in the family was very likely to have high interpersonal trust in her/his interactions or relationships with other people than those who were not the main bread earners (B = 0.432, p <0.01; AOR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.153–1.058) (Table 2).
Table 2

Relationships between sociodemographic variables and level of interpersonal trust using bivariate logistic regression (N = 860)a

 

B

S.E.

Wald X2

df

Sig.

AORc

95% CI for AOR

Modelb/Variables

Lower

Upper

Step 1

        

Males (coded 1)

0.263

0.193

1.864

1

0.172

1.301

0.892

1.900

Private employer (coded 1)

0.068

0.360

0.035

1

0.851

1.070

0.528

2.169

Educational level

  

6.150

2

0.046*

   

Low educationd (coded 1)

−0.423

0.171

6.145

1

0.013*

0.655

0.469

0.915

Middle educatione (coded 2)

−0.197

0.195

1.023

1

0.312

0.821

0.561

1.203

Sought help from counselors (yes, coded 1)

0.050

0.280

0.032

1

0.859

0.951

0.550

1.647

Sought help from family members (yes, coded 1)

0.421

0.220

3.650

1

0.056

1.523

0.989

2.346

Sought help from prayer/religion (yes, coded 1)

0.015

0.175

0.008

1

0.929

0.985

0.699

1.387

Sought help from Bomof (yes, coded 1)

−0.024

0.745

0.001

1

0.974

0.976

0.227

4.203

Sought help from friends (yes, coded 1)

−0.022

0.158

0.020

1

0.888

0.978

0.718

1.333

Sought help from online social networking (yes, coded 1)

−0.062

0.333

0.035

1

0.852

0.940

0.489

1.807

Sought help from Ustadg (yes, coded 1)

0.398

0.200

3.963

1

0.047*

1.489

1.006

2.204

Marital status

  

3.092

2

0.213

   

Single (coded 1)

0.286

0.465

0.379

1

0.538

1.331

0.536

3.309

Married (coded 2)

0.630

0.417

2.284

1

0.131

1.877

0.829

4.248

Do you have children? (yes, coded 1)

−0.341

0.263

1.673

1

0.196

0.711

0.425

1.192

Who do you live with?

  

1.029

4

0.905

   

Live alone (coded 1)

0.292

0.456

0.409

1

0.523

1.339

0.547

3.274

Live with parents (coded 2)

0.012

0.199

0.004

1

0.950

1.013

0.686

1.496

Live with in-laws (coded 3)

−0.213

0.299

0.510

1

0.475

0.808

0.450

1.451

Live with siblings (coded 4)

0–0.023

0.289

0.006

1

0.936

0.977

0.555

1.722

District

  

2.516

3

0.472

   

Brunei-Muara (coded 1)

−0.510

0.488

1.089

1

0.297

0.601

0.231

1.564

Tutong (coded 2)

−0.602

0.507

1.409

1

0.235

0.548

0.203

1.480

Kuala Belait (coded 3)

0.009

0.710

0.000

1

0.990

1.009

0.251

4.059

Are you the chief wage earner in your household? (yes, coded 1)

0.363

0.183

3.937

1

0.047*

1.438

1.004

2.059

Step 12h

        

Educational level

  

10.799

2

0.005**

   

Low educationd (coded 1)

−0.499

0.152

10.778

1

0.001**

0.607

0.451

0.818

Middle educatione (coded 1)

−0.254

0.182

1.938

1

0.164

0.776

0.543

1.109

Sought help from family members (yes, coded 1)

0.270

0.125

4.670

1

0.031*

1.310

1.025

1.674

Sought help from Ustadg (yes, coded 1)

0.400

0.186

4.622

1

0.032*

1.491

1.036

2.147

Are you the chief wage earner in your household? (yes, coded 1)

0.432

0.148

8.557

1

0.003**

1.541

1.153

2.058

aDependent variable = interpersonal trust total scale scores

bStep 1: R Squares = 0.050 (Cox & Snell), 0.066 (Nagelkerke); Hosmer and Lemeshow χ2 (df = 8) = 2.841, p = 0.944

cAOR = adjusted odds ratio

dLow education = primary school to General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level)

eMiddle education = postsecondary to Higher National Diploma (HND)

fBomo = traditional healer

gUstad = religious teacher/leader, e.g., Imam (Muslim preacher)

hStep 12: R Squares = 0.039 (Cox & Snell), 0.052 (Nagelkerke); Hosmer and Lemeshow χ2 (df = 6) = 5.282, p = 0.508

*p <0.05 (two-tailed)

**p <0.01 (two-tailed)

Discussion

In this study, low and middle education were negatively related to interpersonal trust. Such behavior would not be helpful in many situations where employees are required to work collaboratively as a team. Previous research found out that positive trust-building practices between managers and workers lead to high productivity and organizational commitment in both public and private organizations (Hassan et al. 2012). In addition, interpersonal trust had a positive effect on strategic innovativeness as well as team performance (e.g., Semerciöz et al. 2011). Furthermore, Matzler and Renzl (2006) argued that interpersonal trust in peers and management strongly influenced employee job satisfaction. In turn, employee satisfaction was an important driver of productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction (Matzler and Renzl 2006).

However, scores for employees who sought help from family members when faced with problems, those who obtained help from the Ustad (religious teacher/leader) when in distress, and persons who were chief bread earners in the family were all correlated positively with interpersonal trust. In the absence of interviews with probes, it was not clear from the present study which dimensions of trust discussed by Krot and Lewicka (2012) were missing or involved in Brunei employees. It is important to know this information for two reasons. First, Krot and Lewicka (2012) found that integrity was the most important component of trust in relationships between co-workers while benevolence was the most important aspect of trust in relationships between employees and managers. The current study did not measure both integrity and benevolence. Second, once the types of trust that work and do not work are known, appropriate interventions could then be mounted to promote workplace interpersonal trust.

Based on the findings of the present study, attention and priority should be directed and accorded to Brunei employees with low and middle education when providing interpersonal trust interventions (both counseling and psychotherapy as well individual or group treatments). A number of independent variables (IVs) that correlated low and negatively with IT should also be targeted and included in interventions.

Conclusion

One of the social consequences of any bureaucracy is lack of interpersonal trust (IT) among human resources. The present study aimed at determining the prevalence of IT in 860 randomly selected Brunei public and private sector employees of both genders. IT contributes to improved employee-management relations and reduction of industrial disputes. The field survey strategy was utilized to reach the participants, directly administer the instruments, and collect the completed protocols. Public and private sector workers with low education were far less likely to have high interpersonal trust compared to peers with high education. However, participants who sought help from family members and religious people when distressed were more likely to have interpersonal trust in other people than those who did not. In addition, the chief wage earner in the family household was also more likely to have trust in other people. Since trusting each other at workplaces is important, attention and priority should be directed at credible interventions that increase employees’ IT. The findings have practical, religious, and cultural implications that need to be investigated by mixed-methods research using interview probes.

The present study had two main limitations. First, the study relied heavily on findings from quantitative survey data. A qualitative component with interview probes was required to triangulate the outcomes. Second, the number of private sector participants was too small (n = 38). Future research should address both of these concerns.

Cross-References

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychological Studies and Human Development Academic GroupSultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education, Universiti of Brunei DarussalamBandar Seri BegawanBrunei Darussalam