A curvilinear model of trust and innovation with implications for China's transition

Stephen R. Herting


How can an atmosphere of innovation be infused into cultures (national cultures as well as organizational cultures) that are commonly associated with such traditionally viable values as stability and conformity? Understandting the linkage between trust and innovation could be very important to any organization, particularly where extensive innovation adoption is necessary, as in China's transtion.

In this paper, innovation adoption is associated with the degree of trust by managers of organizations in the behavior of their members. As a methodological model, the paper descibes a consulting project that surveyed ten Southern California Hospitals, with fifty organizational groups and over 800 participants, questioning their perceptions of organizational climate elemets as well as their observations of innovation adoptions. Trust-related organizational climate elements were positively associate with the adoptions of administrative innovations and negatively associated with adoptions of product/service innovations.

The paper proposes a curvilinear model to illustrate the trust/innovation association. It also suggests possible implications of the findings and discussion on the stufy of diffusion of innovative technologies in China and developing countries. The curvilnear model itself can perhaps be realted to some Chinese cultural norms, particularly the "doctrine of the mean" from Confucianism. The methodology may be applicable to important studies of innovations in China.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22140/cpar.v1i3/4.34


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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.