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Article

Competence and Benevolence as Dimensions of Trust: Lecturers’ Trustworthiness in the Words of Italian Students

1
Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, The University of Chieti-Pescara, via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti, Italy
2
Department of Human and Social Sciences, The University of Bergamo, 24100 Bergamo, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10090143
Received: 28 July 2020 / Revised: 11 September 2020 / Accepted: 18 September 2020 / Published: 21 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Educational Psychology)
Trustworthiness includes at least two dimensions: one dimension captures the authority’s benevolence; the other captures authority’s competence. This qualitative study explores the representation of the two dimensions of authority trustworthiness: competence and benevolence. We collected free-associations about what lecturers’ competence and benevolence actually mean for Italian psychology students (n = 125). The data corpus was content-analyzed. Text units were categorized according to meaning using both a bottom-up strategy, with some categories stemming from the data (inductive reasoning), and a top-down strategy, with some categories following from the analysis of the relevant literature (deductive reasoning). Qualitative content analysis showed that these two dimensions overlapped. Students listed theoretically-defined competence characteristics as indications of both benevolence and competence. The same applied to benevolence. Overall, associations were grouped into two main dimensions: (1) the “can-do” dimension, describing a lecturer’s competence and social skill; (2) the “will-do” dimension, describing a lecturer’s good intentions, integrity, and personal motivation. In conclusion, the two conceptually distinct dimensions of trust are indistinguishable in the students’ words. These preliminary results are in line with scholars debating the multifactorial or mono-factorial nature of trust. View Full-Text
Keywords: authority trustworthiness; trust; competence; benevolence; higher education; qualitative methods authority trustworthiness; trust; competence; benevolence; higher education; qualitative methods
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MDPI and ACS Style

Di Battista, S.; Pivetti, M.; Berti, C. Competence and Benevolence as Dimensions of Trust: Lecturers’ Trustworthiness in the Words of Italian Students. Behav. Sci. 2020, 10, 143. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10090143

AMA Style

Di Battista S, Pivetti M, Berti C. Competence and Benevolence as Dimensions of Trust: Lecturers’ Trustworthiness in the Words of Italian Students. Behavioral Sciences. 2020; 10(9):143. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10090143

Chicago/Turabian Style

Di Battista, Silvia, Monica Pivetti, and Chiara Berti. 2020. "Competence and Benevolence as Dimensions of Trust: Lecturers’ Trustworthiness in the Words of Italian Students" Behavioral Sciences 10, no. 9: 143. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10090143

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