A Study of the Influence of Trust on the Relationships Between Team Members in Engineering Projects

  • Thamer Saad Almalki

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Early studies of relationships in organisations suggested that one component which determines the nature of the working relationship is the level of trust between individuals. The literature has shown that trust was broadly discussed and examined in long-term relationships between individuals whether at a personal or organisational level, whereas there has been less discussion in the context of short-term relationships such as in construction projects. The literature has also exposed that lack of trust is one of the major issues in the construction industry. Thus, the purpose of this exploratory study is to explore the nature of trust in a construction project team. The research focuses on trust between team members and looks into the ingredients that bring trust between those members. This study also aims to examine the impact of trust on the project outcome and the relationship within a project team. To achieve this, the research uses interviews and questionnaires in a number of construction projects teams to study the ingredients (conditions) of trust that according to Butler (1991) are: availability, integrity, loyalty, receptivity, openness, consistency, competence, discreetness, fairness and promise fulfilment. Interviews and questionnaires were conducted with seventeen core members of six projects teams who were responsible for the design and day-to-day management of the projects. Qualitative data was collected and analysed based on the Grounded theory approach, and data from questionnaires was analysed separately based on calculation technique.

    The findings of this study indicate that Butler’s (1991) conditions of trust are applicable in a project team setting and their levels can have an impact on team members’ relationships. This is because the level of these conditions can have an effect on team members’ emotions, the overall level of trust among team members and the project outcome. The effect of trust conditions on team members’ relationships cannot be denied because it can be reflected in their performance, which therefore impacts on the quality and the efficiency of the team itself.

    This study develops a model that illustrates how applying Butler’s (1991) trust conditions to a project team can influence team members’ relationships through different elements. Further, this study discovered a new condition of trust in a project team setting, which is “Past experience”.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsKingdom of Saudi Arabia
    SupervisorAndrew Munns (Supervisor)

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