Making sense of trust and control in local authorities: An hermeneutic study.

WILKINS, Carolyn. (2013). Making sense of trust and control in local authorities: An hermeneutic study. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

The consequences of senior managers' assumptions about trust and control not only risk undermining their organization's trust-building efforts, they also risk work taking place to strengthen control leading to a growth of distrust in the organization. This not only means the organization failing in its ambitions to build a culture of trust, it makes it harder to deliver the wider programme of change.This is a reflexive hermeneutic study from a critical perspective exploring how senior managers make sense of the relationship between trust and control in an organizational setting. It also explores the assumptions held by senior managers about trust together with the assumptions held about control. The research covers the period from early 2009 to late 2010 and includes fieldwork carried out in a single local authority. The evidence is taken from interview conversations with ten senior managers from the local authority.The research reveals senior managers experience a dynamic and interactive relationship between trust and control. Whilst some senior managers understand that trust-building is undermined by strengthening controls it is the unexpected assumptions about control and distrust, common to all the senior managers, that poses the greater risk to trust-building efforts. In making sense of trust it is also necessary for organizations to understand assumptions held about distrust, particularly with regard to the relationship with assumptions about control. This research highlights that organizations face a challenge, often unacknowledged or unrecognized, in the need to continually balance (and rebalance) trust, control and distrust.The research also identifies that it is insufficient to understand senior managers as architects and implementers of control. Sense-making also needs to incorporate their reality as subjects, and sometimes even victims, of control. In considering such issues as trust and control organizations need to acknowledge that, even when common assumptions are held about the nature and value of such things, this in no way means that common views are held about the current reality in the organization. This research concludes that organizations need to move beyond 'one size fits all' approaches to change, to ones that understand employees as individuals rather than homogenous groupings and engage in dialogue that has cognizance of, and responsiveness to, local circumstances.This research also identifies several aspects of the role of the critical, reflexive researcher that have practical implications for the role of senior manager.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (D.B.A.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2013.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:22
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2018 13:37
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20536

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