Investigating the impact of trust on the diversity climate of a South African tertiary institution
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The purpose of this study was to develop theoretical insight on the concepts of trust and diversity climate and to empirically test for any possible relationships between these two concepts within a tertiary institution. For the purpose of this study trust was defined as the willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party. Diversity climate was defined as the employees‟ perceptions of the policies and practices that communicate the extent to which fostering diversity and eliminating discrimination is a priority in the organisation. The study took on a quantitative approach and the questionnaire used in the study was a combination of three previously validated instruments. Trust was measured through a combination of the organizational trust inventory and the behavioural trust inventory. The dimensions used to measure trust, included, propensity towards trust, ability, benevolence, integrity, trust, reliance based trust and disclosure based trust. The diversity climate was measured through a diversity climate assessment instrument that consisted of nine items. The results indicate that the employees agree that the organization is committed towards diversity management and eliminating discrimination. A correlation analysis between the dimensions of trust and diversity climate revealed that all of the trust dimensions, except for the propensity towards trust have some sort of relationship with diversity climate. The results further indicated that the group of employees that only have an education up to Matric/Grade 12 indicated a higher propensity towards trust than compared to the group that has either a diploma or a post graduate degree. Propensity towards trust and disclosure based trust dimensions revealed the only noticeable differences between the Black and White groups. There was no practical significance within the diversity climate construct for the gender, education, ethnic, employment status or level of employment groups and this should be regarded as a positive result for the institution.