An Examination of the Impact of Local Government Service Factors on Public Trust

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Organization Development & Change (D.O.D.C.)


Organization Development

First Advisor

Michael Zickar (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Deborah O'Neil (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Donna Trautman (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Radhika Gajjala (Other)


This dissertation evaluates the current phenomenon of public distrust in local government. More specifically, the research focuses on significant determinants of public trust in local government: public service quality and the way these are delivered to local residents. Drawing upon Coulter and Coulter's (2002) pioneering research, this study focuses on the relationship between customer trust antecedents and service providers and extends their research to local government. Evidence suggests that components of service quality (i.e., promptness, reliability, customization, and competence) and the manner of service delivery (i.e., civility and compassion) have direct bearing on customer trust in service providers. Scholars offer further indication that these factors are subject to a moderating effect when length of relationship (residency) between customer (resident) and service provider (local government) is considered. Provided that service delivery is at the core of local government's mission, this research seeks to measure the impact of local government services on constituent trust with additional inquiry into the moderating effect of length of constituent residency. Testing of hypotheses included split results with the correlation hypotheses (H1 – H6) being supported and the moderating hypotheses (H7(a-f)) failing to be supported. Findings and implications of this research demonstrate how local government service and way of delivery can be managed such that public trust is engendered.