Department of Conservation

Trust and Confidence Research

Trust and Confidence Research

Trust and confidence in any public service department is important to support the development and implementation of effective strategy. For the Department of Conservation trust and confidence is essential. To achieve the vision for New Zealand to be the greatest living space on earth, DOC must be the trusted authority for decisions relating to our natural and historic heritage and the organisation must achieve the commitment and support of residents and visitors to act on these decisions.

Monitoring attitudes and perceptions of the agency is important. This research project was designed to go a step further to understand how these attitudes are created and reproduced and how experiences and perceptions are framed and interpreted. The results provide an understanding of how to change perceptions and develop trust and confidence that is critical to inform brand strategy.

Trust is an intangible concept; it is easy to identify but more difficult to define and operationalise. Definitions of trust are relative and will not be the same between sectors or even between organisations within them. It was essential to understand trust in DOC within the context of the specific emotional triggers that relate to the agency. The first stage of the research was therefore designed to uncover these emotional triggers and identify how they underpin how ‘trust’ in DOC is formed. These information needs were met through qualitative research:

  • In-depth interviews with key informants
  • Focus groups with residents in 3 key areas

The output from this stage was useful measures to understand the drivers of trust and confidence and an understanding of the different levels of impact these have on perceptions for different groups. This was followed by a national survey of 4,050 respondents providing robust, quantitative evidence on the relative impact of trust and confidence drivers and identify how perceptions can be influenced.

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