Does participant trust in the organisation supporting intergroup contact have an effect on the outcomes of the contact?

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The aim of this thesis is to explore the role that participant trust in the organisation supporting intergroup contact plays and to determine whether, and how, this trust effects the outcomes of the contact. Intergroup contact theory has long acknowledged the vital role organisations supporting intergroup contact play in the contact process but this role has been under-researched in science and under-appreciated in practice.

    As such this research studies the extent to which the trust which a participant holds towards the organisation facilitating intergroup contact acts as a moderator on the contact outcomes, and how this occurs and interacts with other, known, moderators of intergroup contact. It also asks how this trust is built and in whom, or what, it manifests itself.

    This addresses a gap in the theoretical understanding of the role of trust in intergroup contact by bringing together the theoretical contributions of two distinct academic fields. This enables academics, policymakers and practitioners to better understand the dynamics at play in contact, and to more effectively harness the role of trust in organisations, partners and people involved in the contact in increasing prejudice reduction and other positive contact outcomes.

    Given the centrality of intergroup contact to UK and European social policy in recent decades, the potential of this understanding to have an impact beyond academia are clear. Part of the originality of this study rests of the use of a real-world case of intergroup contact, contrasting this with the use of more artificial, laboratory settings on which much of the extant ‘contact’ literature is based. The research examines the case study through a mixed-methods study. A quantitative, quasi-experimental study shows the extent that organisational trust effects intergroup contact outcomes. This assessment is then complemented by a qualitative study of the same programme, adding cognizance and depth of understanding to how and why this relationship functions.

    The results of this study make a significant and novel contribution to the theoretical understanding of the role that organisational trust plays in intergroup contact, how this trust is built in and transferred from other parties and how this trust informs and links to established intergroup contact and group identity models. The research also affirms the crucial role which the organisation supporting intergroup contact plays in underpinning the contact process and is revelatory in showing for the first time an empirical understanding of organisational trust as a moderator of intergroup contact.
    Date of AwardAug 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorMichael Hardy (Supervisor) & Frens Kroeger (Supervisor)

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