Communication, Commitment & Trust: Exploring the Triad

Rachid Zeffane, Syed A Tipu, James C Ryan


Despite growing interest on the issues of communication, trust and commitment, studies examining the interplay
between all of these three variables are lacking. This paper attempts to address this gap. It draws on survey data
involving 244 employees from a medium-size food processing organization operating in NSW (Australia). The
study explored relationships between communication, trust and commitment. Trust was measured by a six-items
composite scale assessing overall beliefs in good intentions of organization participants as well as the degree of
faith/trust in various actors in the organization, including co-workers and managers at various levels of the
hierarchy. Correlation analysis revealed that perceived effectiveness of communication between management
and employees, commitment & pride in working for the company and trust were significantly interrelated.
However, the relationship between Trust and Communication was the strongest, with commitment also showing
a significant relation to Trust. On the other hand, the relationship between commitment and communication was
relatively weaker. The results demonstrate the importance of effective communication within organizations as it
relates to trust and organizational commitment. In particular, the study shows that trust and commitment do not
just happen; they are forged and maintained through effective communication. Implications for management
practice and future research are discussed.

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