Human Resource Management and Organisational Trust in Public Sector Organisation in Papua New Guinea
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This study is about employees’ perception of trust in their organisations and the role of HRM in building trust in Papua New Guinea’s public service. In PNG, Human Resource Management (HRM) sits uncomfortably between management and employees who perceive HRM as part of the management. On the contrary the top management team (TMT) sees HRM as facilitators for staff recruitment, human resource capacity building, training and solution providers of dispute resolution in the organisation. To address these issues two research questions have been posed; a) to explore public sector employees ‘perception of trust in PNG, and; b) to investigate the role of HRM in developing trust in the public sector in PNG. The findings in this study shows HRM is new to public sector organisations in PNG, and it is not uniformed throughout the public sector organisations in PNG. Some departments have established HRM divisions whereas others do not, and in some cases HRM functions have been carried out by the heads of the departments instead. To well-known scholars of organisational systems, HRM is crucial to modern organisations’ existence because it is the ‘engine’ of the organisation that drives its activities to meet stakeholders’ needs and global demands (Robinson & Rousseau, 1994; Searle & Dietz, 2012; Whitener, 1997). This reflection ignited scholars’ interest in researching the issue of trust in public sector organisations (Zeffane & Connell, 2003). To explain the relationship between employees’ perception of trust in public sector organisations and the role of HRM in building trust, two theories have been employed to underpin the study, and these theories are – Organisation Support Theory (Krishnan & Mary, 2012) and Social Exchange Theory (Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005). Given the two research questions raised in this study about public employees’ perception of trust in public organisations in PNG and whether participants trust HRM in their role in their respective organisations, the study employed a qualitative research approach to explore participants’ experiences and opinions. To interpret data gathered, the study uses interpretivism paradigm to unveil the meaning behind the narratives provided by the participants. Semi-structured interview method (Appendix A) was used to guide the researcher to probe deeper into the question of trust. Telephone interview was conducted because the researcher is located overseas, and other mode of communications were either unreliable or not available. Data gathered from the interviews were processed through the thematic data analysis procedure as illustrated in Figure 1,2 & 2. From data analyses and through the discussion process, it was discovered that there have been mixed responses received from participants who trust their employers when there is reciprocal attributes are given in return for their labour whereas departments that do not follow institutional guidelines or procedures to recruit new employees, there is distrust among employees of their superiors. A second discovery was about gender inequality, where discrimination against female employees exist, and the perpetrators are both male and female supervisors.