Date of Conferral







Elisabeth Weinbaum


The complex dynamics of the phenomenon of trust, defined as a psychological state where one is willing to accept vulnerability based upon the positive expectations of a specific other or others, and the influence trust has on faculty involvement in institutional decision-making were explored in this case study. Faculty involvement is a key element of institutional success, yet many faculty at community colleges are not satisfied with their involvement or choose to remain uninvolved. Although researchers have established a substantial body of research on trust in organizations, a gap remains regarding the role trust plays in community college faculty involvement in key decision-making. The purpose of the current research was to address this gap by exploring the faculty experience of trust within the context of the unique social structure of 1 specific community college. The research question prompted an exploration of 1 specific college’s complex social and organizational structures by examining organizational charts and documents, while semistructured interviews with a purposeful sampling of 20 faculty members allowed for insight into the unique perspectives of community college faculty. Data were analyzed using the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method looking for emergent themes. It was indicated that trust dynamics play a role in faculty involvement in decision-making. Themes emerged that support 3 types of trust and 5 facets of trust that are part of the faculty experience within the specific case. Results can be used to contribute to positive social change by influencing continuous improvement efforts in higher education, improving institutional effectiveness.