IIAS Study Group Workshop on Trust in Public Administration and Citizen Attitudes location:Seoul, South Korea date:11-12 December 2012
Many scholars have argued that context is critical to understanding trust (Rousseau et al 1998). This paper examines whether the effect of institutional constraints on administrational trust differs across varying public management cultures. At present, little empirical research has taken interorganisational trust in public administration as its main object of inquiry. The paper introduces the concepts of administrational trust, institutionalised control and administrative culture, and develops a set of hypotheses regarding the question as to how they relate. The hypotheses are tested using data from the 2012 Korean Civil Service Survey. The exploratory hypotheses presented in this paper tap into our first ideas about the potential relation between institutionalised control and administrational trust under different administrational cultures. Administrative culture seems to moderate this relationship by means of its differentiated capacity for the creation of institution-based trust. This is a form of trust that is generated through trusted institutions which depersonalise existing interpersonal distrust through institutionalising it into the regime surrounding an interaction. Administrative cultures that rely more on such institutions, therefore produce a larger extent of institution-based trust, supporting a complementary relationship between institutionalised control and administrational trust, while cultures that rest more on interpersonal ties might see trust development blocked by too large an institutionalised control system.