Developing Conditions of Trust within a Framework of Trust
Thompson, Nicholas J.
Why is trust important? Projects are inherently uncertain, requiring a degree of trust in the contractor from the client. It is therefore important for the contractor to establish conditions of trust with the client at an early stage. The paper examines the conditions of trust within a framework of trust. The role of conditions of trust from the client perspective is analysed, using data derived from research underpinned by Butler’s Conditions of Trust Inventory and applied to leading construction clients. Research data is derived from in-depth interviews and questionnaires. It shows what major clients consider to be the conditions for construction projects. An analysis from the findings shows how the conditions affect client perceptions of project risk, and hence (lack of) confidence in the contractor. Other research into antecedents of trust is evaluated. It is argued that the range of findings on antecedents is confusing, hence the conclusion that antecedents are difficult to establish and a more conclusive conceptual approach is the identification of components of trust, used with the conditions of trust. Trust and the other components belong to the same family of concepts, whilst not being antecedents. Finally, ways of managing the conditions of trust are explored, leading to recommendations for instigating and managing conditions to generate trust between client and contractor