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Measuring the degree of trust and its impact: the role of Management Accounting in creating and maintaining trust

Muehl, Johannes K.


Johannes K. Muehl


This research attempts to measure the degree of trust and its impact and to understand the role of Management Accounting in creating and maintaining trust. According to Zucker (1986) trust consists of three different forms; organisational, process and personal trust. In this thesis it will be shown that trust is a multidimensional construct based on the working definition of Zucker’s formulation and further expanded in this research. Several publications on different types of business organisations and other value-adding partnerships consider trust as a pillar for successful operations in an increasingly global competitive environment. Some authors go further and argue that “in the economy trust is nowadays more important than natural resources” and that “trust is the prerequisite for existence and successful control of organisations”.
As facilitators of trust, Management Accounting has an impact on and is impacted by the level of trust within a business organisation. The Management Accounting (controlling) function is often associated with the conscience felt in many types of business organisations as it can be seen as a key for the management to make crucial decisions. However, the interaction between trust and Management Accounting has not yet been explored in detail. Therefore, the goal of this research is to identify or construct models, test several hypothesis, find a measurement of trust and to investigate the impact of trust on organisational performance and sustainability. Additionally, this research aims to develop and test new statistical methods to conduct intraorganisational research.
To measure trust a questionnaire was developed and piloted. Part of this questionnaire was sociometric to allow the collection of data for social network methods to be applied. This meant that via the flow of communication the role and functioning of management accountants can be identified. This instrument was used in a private and in a public institution. From the analysis it was concluded that a dimension based measure of trust was developed as was a methodology for measurement. This allowed demonstration that as trust increases so does organisational performance. The method also exposed the key role of management accountants in facilitating the flow of trust between CEOs and line managers.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Sep 26, 2013
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Trust; Management Accounting; business organisation
Public URL
Award Date 2013-06


Measuring the degree of trust and its impact: the role of Management Accounting in creating and maintaining trust (6.3 Mb)

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