A trust inventory for use in the construction industry


Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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  • Wei Kei WONG


Awarding Institution
Award date16 Jul 2007


Contracting parties must collaborate in completing construction projects. Nevertheless, the dilemma of conflict between the client and contractor has been present in the construction industry for quite some times. This contracting environment is unfavorable and has never brought positive impact on project performance. The adversaries and uncertainties inherent with construction projects have driven the unhealthy growth in tension among team members and often lead to unsatisfactory performance. The undesirable effects caused by the adversarial relationship prompt the need to investigate possible methods to improve the relationship between the client and contractor. It is believed that the existence of trust may alleviate this unfavorable relationship. As construction projects are delivered by a multitude of organizations, their interactions are frequent, thus the importance of trust in fostering such co-operation is apparent. This study aimed to develop a trust inventory for use in the construction industry. Three forms of trust were first identified through a literature review. These included system-based, cognition-based and affect-based trust. Seven attributes were proposed to measure these three forms. Attributes to system-based trust included contracts and agreements, communication system and organizational policy. Knowledge and communication / interaction were attributes to cognition-based trust. Being thoughtful and emotional investments were attributes to affect-based trust. In order to authenticate the proposed instrument, the required data was collected through a survey. A total of 163 construction practitioners including professionals in developers, public sector, consultants and contractors had participated in this survey. The instrument was validated through a two-stage process which was called the “Test and Re-test”. The first stage was called the Test; the second stage was conducted after three months and was called the Re-test. In each stage of the development process, the following tests were performed namely, reliability test, confirmatory factor analysis, validity check and test-retest for reliability. Reliability analysis involved the examination of Cronbach’s alpha, inter-item correlation and item-total correlation. Results were satisfactory in both the Test and the Re-test. Confirmatory factor analysis was carried out to determine the authenticity of the pre-specified relationships of the instrument. The model fit was determined by a series of goodness-of-fit indices that were found to be satisfactory in both stages. The requirement of validity check was achieved by considering Cronbach’s alpha and goodness-of-fit tests. Lastly, completion of the test-retest process was achieved by assessing the reliability and stability of the instrument across time. The test was passed with a favorable Pearson’s correlation coefficient. In sum, the proposed trust inventory for use in the construction industry was authenticated by successfully completing the “Test and Re-test” process and ready to serve as a powerful measurement tool in improving the construction environment. A confirmatory study was conducted with the construction professionals’ support on the implementation of the developed trust inventory in practice.

    Research areas

  • Trust, Construction industry, Management