When Public Participation in Administration Leads to Trust: An Empirical Assessment of Managers’ Perceptions

Authors

Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: When Public Participation in Administration Leads to Trust: An Empirical Assessment of Managers’ Perceptions Volume 74, Issue 6, 816, Article first published online: 3 October 2014

XiaoHu Wang is an associate professor of public administration at the University of Central Florida. He has conducted research on performance management, accountability, and financial management. His recent book is Financial Management in the Public Sector: Tools, Applications, and Cases (M. E. Sharpe, 2006).
E-mail: xwang@mail.ucf.edu.

Montgomery Van Wart is a professor and chair of the Department of Public Administration at California State University, San Bernardino. His research interests include administrative leadership, human resource management, training and development, administrative values and ethics, organizational behavior, and general management. His book on leadership, The Dynamics of Leadership: Theory and Practice (M. E. Sharpe, 2005), was designated an Outstanding Academic Title for 2005.
E-mail: mvanwart@csusb.edu.

Abstract

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.

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