Modern society has the resources, technology and capability to resolve many of the worlds complex issues. A challenge is that these attributes often sit in different sectoral institutions and require coordinated collaboration in order to be effective. Trust can be considered a lubricant to enable collaboration; however, building trust in cross sector partnerships is becoming more complex in a global context of patriotic nationalism conflicting with diverse social identities of minorities. These and other conditions lead to low levels of societal trust, which in turn create negative perceptions of partner institutions or even individual partnership actors. In order for effective partnerships in this context the existing literature needed to be extended to enrich the understanding of the processes involved in building trust. More specifically, this research aimed to understand the dynamic between trust and relationships, perceptions and tensions. This is particularly important in long term multi-project partnerships, which need to be sustainable and therefore resilient to shocks.
The research investigated the perceptions of highly experienced partnership actors from the public, private and social sectors in relation to their past partnership experiences and how these perceptions impacted trust. The research was conducted in two phases. The first was a data collection phase involving 14 in-depth interviews with representation from each sector. All samples were taken from the same three partnership types, namely social housing, inner city housing and enterprise development. The second phase consisted of three in-depth interviews of industry experts and was used to confirm a proposed trust and trust formation model, developed from phase one data.
The final model consists of process components as well as linking mechanisms. It shows a complex system of relationships, perceptions and tensions working dynamically within an institutional structure. This process has two main stages; initial trust at partnership inception and formation of trust through collaborative processes. These are separated by the legitimacy barrier. The barrier can be crossed through appropriate partner selection and principled engagement. The model provides insight that is useful to collaborative leaders and facilitators as well as public sector policy makers.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.