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Table 4 Findings for operationalisation of trust

From: Conceptualising, operationalising, and measuring trust in participatory health research networks: a scoping review

Operationalisation: What are the dimensions and indicators used for trust? What questions were asked to represent trust?
Themes and sub-themes Description References
Theme O1 Context specific This theme speaks to questions and indicators that ask about trust in a specific context. Questions and indicators pertaining to the context vary depending on the traits that exist within an individual as a kind of precondition to trust, as well as the context surrounding an individual, such as individuals in their network.
ST O1.1 Within individuals This sub-theme describes questions and indicators that explore how individuals within a context, and thus the traits that exist within the individual, can impact trust. Specifically, questions or indicators for trust that are dependent on the individual’s personality and experiences can alter their disposition to trust. For example, trust can be influenced by their past experiences with trust (or mistrust) in others (i.e. groups, individuals, and organisations). “a. Talk to me about how you view trust within the POPS-CAB. I’m interested in hearing your views on benefits/opportunities as well as the challenges/barriers related to trust.” [46]
ST O1.2 Surrounding individuals This sub-theme describes questions and indicators that explore how the context surrounding an individual influences trust. For instance, questions and indicators that discuss the norms, values, setting, institutional barriers, and level of support from others surrounding the individual in a given environment can represent trust. “The trust network was measured by asking participants with respect to their particular team “Who do you trust?” [50]
Theme O2 Relational This theme focuses on questions and indicators that speak to the relational aspects of trust highlighting its fluidity as a concept, while exploring a variety of features of trust that require and depend on another individual (i.e. trustor to trustee).
ST O2.1 Trustworthiness This sub-theme pertains to questions that explore an actor’s trustworthiness. This could include asking individuals, such as in a partnership, what they deem are important characteristics of trustworthiness, or more directly asking if an actor thinks another actor is trustworthy. “The open-ended interview guide addressed each participants’ concept of trustworthiness, which actions or factors demonstrate a researcher’s trustworthiness within a particular partnership, what kinds of institutional barriers or facilitators influenced their experiences of trustworthiness within the partnership, and how the partnership has overcome any challenges to trust. Community partners were asked about characteristics of their academic partners; academic partners were asked about their trustworthiness and that of other researchers, and bridge partners were asked about academic partners and their sense of trustworthiness and responsibility in their unique roles.” [47]
ST O2.2 Vulnerability This sub-theme explores questions that reflect an individual’s vulnerability to another, such as disclosing something about oneself. “Would you tell [Student X] something personal about yourself? (Disclosure)” [34]
ST O2.3 Integrity This sub-theme represents questions that ask about the extent to which the trustor thinks that the trustee will act in their best interest and the belief that the trustee will follow a set of principles, deemed acceptable by the trustor, such as they will say what is true. “How often does [Student X] keep promises? (Promises)” [34]
“Please indicate those who you think will act in your best interests” [39]
ST O2.4 Reliability This sub-theme pertains to questions that ask about someone or a group of people's reliability. Reliability is discussed as an actor's ability to meet certain demands, perform specific tasks and make decisions. Reliability is reflective of one's competence from the perspective of the trustor-trustee dynamic. Specifically, it is related to the confidence in and extent to which the trustor believes the trustee will follow through on commitments, perform a given task, and/or make decisions about something. “Most of my workmates can be relied upon to do as they say they will do.” [53]
ST O2.5 Ability This sub-theme explores questions and indicators that describe an individual’s (trustee) ability to perform a given task or make decisions about something based on their perceived skillset and competence from the perspective of another individual (trustor). “My co-workers are very capable of performing their job.” [41]
“I feel confident about my co-workers’ skills” [41]
ST O2.6 Strength and quality of relationship This sub-theme represents questions that ask about the strength and quality of a relationship with another individual. “(2) On a scale of 1–10 (with 1 being ‘not good at all’ to 10 being ‘best friend’), how good of a friend is [Student X]?” [34]
ST O2.7 Shared vision, values, and goals This sub-theme describes indicators and questions about shared visions, values and power in partnerships when operationalising trust. “Total Trust: Average of the ranking given by all other members for that organization along three dimensions: reliability, support of mission, and open to discussion.” [37]
ST O2.8 Power sharing + co-ownership This sub-theme explores sharing power, and fostering co-ownership in partnerships as an indicator used to operationalise trust. “66. Shared power and decision making—acknowledge, minimize or address perceived power differentials and imbalances” [44]
Theme O3 Complex concept This theme emphasizes indicators used to operationalise trust that speak to trust as a complex concept. Specifically, this includes indicators that explore trust as multiple types.
ST O3.1 Multiplicities of trust This sub-theme speaks to the indicators and questions that address specific types of trust depending on the strength and level of trust that exists between individuals, or whether the trust has been earned. These types could vary in strength such as no trust, neutral trust, to critical reflexive trust. “Survey participants were asked to select the trust type they experienced at the beginning of their partnership and the type they currently experience.” [55]
Theme O4 Features of social network analysis This theme explores indicators or questions that operationalise trust through social network analysis techniques and concepts.
ST O4.1 Reciprocal trust These questions ask individuals if they think that the trustee also trusts them, is it mutual? “Do you think [Student X] trusts you? (only School 2)” [34]
“SNA questionnaire for personal trust at intra organisational level measures personal trust levels of the co-workers to each other (reciprocal trust).” [41]
ST O4.2 Homophily This sub-theme represents indicators that describe how people associate with individuals that share similar beliefs and values. “Value homophily is based on the following two individual attributes: trust in peers and trust in management.” [53]
ST O4.3 Structural equivalence Grouping of nodes in a network based on patterns of their connections to others in the network. “We argue that structural equivalence represents a very useful construct for capturing how dyad members’ relationships with their entire constellation of third parties predicts their trust in one another.” [42]
ST O4.4 Network closure Number of third parties to a relationship. “We identify three distinct ways in which an employee and co-worker may be linked to third parties, each of which captures a different theoretical mechanism for influencing interpersonal trust. We refer to these as network closure, structural equivalence, and trust transferability (the names are derived from concepts in the network literature).” [42]
ST O4.5 Transferability The number of third parties who trust the trustee and are also trusted by the trustor. “And we explore how trust transferability may predict trust directly by conveying trust-related judgments from third parties to employees (see Fig. 1).” [42]
  1. Legend:ST sub-theme, O(#) operationalisation of trust