TRUST, PERFORMANCE, AND COMPLIANCE DURING CRISIS TIMES
Longitudinal analysis of trust in authorities and
performance evaluations as the predictors of
compliance in crisis situations
Purpose: While the concepts of trust and performance often appear together in research, there seems to be little consensus on how they together relate to compliance. The purpose of this study is to examine this relationship, how it changes over time, and to question the common idea of trust being one of the main predictors of compliance in crisis situations, suggesting that performance evaluations might play a bigger role than often thought. This study argues for
the role of performance evaluations in determining compliance and aims to test this argument through quantitative longitudinal analysis.
Theory: An extensive literature review is conducted to conclude what is already known on the relationship between trust and compliance, trust and performance
evaluations, and performance evaluations and compliance. Three lines of previous research are recognised; performance evaluations as a type of trust, i.e., confidence, performance evaluations preceding trust through trustworthiness, and performance evaluations as an antecedent of reputation.
The mechanisms of trust and performance evaluations affecting compliance are discussed and two main frameworks are recognised; trust affecting
performance evaluations, which then affect compliance, or performance evaluations affecting trust and thus affecting compliance. The different theories are discussed and compared. Hypotheses and a conceptual model are formed based on the previous literature.
Method: A three-wave panel data collected in Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is used to conduct a statistical analysis on the relationship between the independent variables of trust in authorities and performance evaluations, and
the dependent variable of compliance. Logistic regression model (n= 4,187) is constructed to analyse the change in variables during the course of the three
panel waves. A measure of social distancing is used as the dependent compliance variable, and the relationship is controlled with general trust, sex,
age, and education level.
The results of the logistic regression model show that trust in authorities remains as a significant positive predictor of compliance throughout the panel waves, even when controlled with other variables. Performance evaluations seem to have positive independent effect on compliance, but negative effect when controlled with trust in authorities and other controlling variables. As the analysis shows some irregularities in the data, further analysis on the relationship was required. Additional examination shows evidence implying that high performance evaluations have an effect on compliance only when trust in authorities is high. Thus, the study suggests that trust in authorities is the more prevalent predictor of compliance in comparison to performance evaluations. Further research on the relationship between performance evaluations and compliance is suggested