When public participation in administration leads to trust : An empirical assessment of managers' perceptions

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-278
Journal / PublicationPublic Administration Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


This study empirically assesses the argument that public participation enhances public trust. A model was constructed to include five intermediate factors that might link participation and trust: consensus building, ethical behaviors, accountability practices, service competence, and managerial competence. As expected, participation does explain a significant amount of public trust. However, using path analysis, only two intermediate factors - ethical behaviors and service competence-were found to significantly contribute to trust. Even successful consensus-building activities are not likely to enhance trust unless administrative performance improves. These results indicate that if increasing public trust is the primary goal, then the primary focus should be on administrative integrity and performance results.