The role of trust in community acceptance of urban water management schemes: A social-psychological model of the characteristics and determinants of trust and acceptance

Victoria Ross (2009). The role of trust in community acceptance of urban water management schemes: A social-psychological model of the characteristics and determinants of trust and acceptance PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Victoria Ross
Thesis Title The role of trust in community acceptance of urban water management schemes: A social-psychological model of the characteristics and determinants of trust and acceptance
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-12
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Kelly Fielding
Dr Winnifred Louis
Total pages 182
Total colour pages none
Total black and white pages 182
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract/Summary Given the important role that trust plays in acceptance of water management schemes, the current research investigated the characteristics and determinants of trust by developing a social-psychological model of trust in the area of water management and reuse. The research advanced a theoretical understanding of trust by using social identity theory and the relational model of trust as a framework and providing a systematic examination of the relationships between the variables in the hypothesised trust model. The proposed trust model was tested across three potentially different perceived risk contexts; low, medium and high. Analysis through path modelling provided strong support for the hypothesised model. In all three contexts trust in the water authority was a significant predictor of acceptance of the water management scheme, and risk perceptions mediated the relationship between trust and acceptance. In other words higher levels of trust in the authority were associated with lower perceptions of risk, which were in turn associated with higher levels of acceptance. In Study 4, which was set in the high perceived risk context of the proposed indirect potable reuse scheme in Toowoomba, perceptions of risk had the strongest direct effect on acceptance of the scheme, and the trust, risk and acceptance relationship was stronger than it was in the other studies. The relational variables of procedural fairness, identification with one’s community, ingroup membership of the water authority and a social bond (shared values) with the water authority were all found to impact on trust, either directly or indirectly. In addition, the instrumental variable of the credibility of the authority (measured as technical competence and a lack of vested interests) was found to have a significant impact on trust. Taken together, the results provide support for social identity theory and the relational model of trust as a framework for understanding trust in authorities. The results are also consistent with literature that suggests that the relational and instrumental models of trust are not incompatible (e.g., Edwards & Kidd, 2003; Tyler & Kramer, 1996). The findings from this research program clearly have a practical application for improving acceptance of water management schemes. The combined results demonstrate the importance of trust in the water authority in reducing perceived risk and thus increasing acceptance of schemes. The results highlight the need for water authorities and policy makers to build public trust through procedural fairness, building a sense of the water authority as a member of the community, and through demonstrating technical competence and concern for the interests of the public.
Keyword trust, risk perceptions, public acceptance, recycled water, social identity, procedural fairness

 
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Created: Fri, 04 Jun 2010, 17:38:17 EST by Ms Victoria Ross on behalf of Library - Information Access Service