Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

Intra-Organizational Trust as a Factor That Affects Satisfaction with Doctoral Studies

Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

Intra-Organizational Trust as a Factor That Affects Satisfaction with Doctoral Studies

Article excerpt


The number of PhD students in Poland has increased significantly recently. According to the Supreme Chamber of Control, between 2007 and 2014 there was a major increase in the number of doctoral students, which amounted to 40% [1], and currently the number of doctoral students is 43 200 [2]. It seems that the increase in the number of doctoral students is due to the fact that doctoral studies in Poland are less and less isolated from the labor market and they no longer have an autotelic function, but are significantly increasing the chances for professional development for postgraduates and doctoral students (Domaradzka and Walczak, 2013).

Due to the increasing interest in PhD studies and their role in the economy of a country, which increases its research potential and has a positive effect on innovation and growth (Smith et al., 2010), it seems to be justified to research the PhD students as internal stakeholders of the university. In addition to students, the following university stakeholders can be distinguished: students' parents, university administrative staff, academic staff, lecturers, and supervisors (Chapleo and Simms, 2010). In the light of the study of the social factors of doctoral students, what is of interest in the underlying publication, it is vital to emphasize the special role of the tutor and the lecturer in obtaining the PhD diploma. The model of relationship between a student and a supervisor created by Mainhard and others (2009) indicates the existence of eight dimensions of interpersonal behavior of the supervisor, that creates a proper relationship between him and the student: leadership, helpful / friendly, understanding, giving students freedom and responsibility, uncertainty, dissatisfied, admonishing and strict. In the literature the importance of communication between a supervisor and a student is emphasized (Andrew, 2012). The authors of this article want to complement the research in supervisor and student relationships by researching intra-organizational trust in a vertical context. In addition, they identify a gap in research on other types of trust that also concern PhD studies - trust to colleagues (horizontal) and institutions (institutional).

The purpose of this study is to verify the impact of intra-organizational trust at PhD studies on the satisfaction of doctoral students. Satisfaction is a concept that has been occurring in management science for several decades. It is defined as the positive feelings and attitudes of members of an organization to the work done, which results from a positive relationship regarding the responsibilities, coworkers and the working environment (Wexley and Youkl, 1984; Lewicka, 2010). In the light of doctoral studies, satisfaction may refer to a doctoral program, quality of lectures, cooperation with a supervisor or the support of the university in obtaining the PhD diploma. It may also be related to the need to perform specific duties by a PhD student such as, for example, participation in scientific/ research conferences or research publications.

2.Intra-organizational trust at a University. The PhD students' perspective

According to Grudzewski et al. (2009) trust can be defined as a voluntary dependence created by the belief, that entity A in the given situation becomes dependent on the entity B and feels safe, despite the fact that the negative consequences can occur. In turn, Tzafrir and Eitam-Meilik (2005) define trust as a willingness to invest personal resources in the relationship with another person or institution, which is the results of mutual positive interaction on the past. Simultaneously, it is worth noticing, that trust is a dynamic value -trust can be developed or may be lost (Lewicka and Krot, 2012).

The role of intra-organization trust for university has a strategic meaning. The reason for that is the fact that the atmosphere of trust impacts the educational function through:

* enabling information flow and knowledge management (McElroy, 2002),

* stimulating processes of knowledge sharing (Wang and RubenstainMontano, 2002),

* reinforcing knowledge-sharing in an organization (Hoe, 2002). …

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