This research addresses the challenges that the Jordanian Water Authority and the public water utility in facing in regaining customers’ trust, and improving the perceived quality of public drinking water. In Amman, even though the drinking water quality fully complies with required standards, the public perceive the quality as poor and regard the water as unsafe. Sector officials relate this negative perception to the decline of customers’ trust in public water institutions after a contamination incident in one of Amman’s major water treatment plant twenty years ago. Based on earlier studies on trust in customer relationships, customers trust in the service provider was unbundled to three elements. Those elements are a) process-based trust which relates to customers’ confidence service provider’s competency in service delivery, b) goodwill-based trust which relates to customers’ belief in services provider’s show of good faith and integrity in dealing with its customers and c) system-based trust which relates to the confidence in efficiency of regulatory system governing the service delivery in enforcing service standards. In this research the extent of each element’s influence on perceive quality was investigated and explained. Understanding the extent of each elements influence can provide a helpful insight to the policy makers to develop strategies in targeting the most influential element thus effectively improve those perceptions. Therefore, the research questions are: What is the level of customers’ trust in Miyahuna measured across the three elements? What is the current perceived quality of tap water in Amman? And, to what extent does each element of trust influence the perceived quality? This research is quantitative, it employed survey as a research strategy and questionnaires as the main data collection instrument. The survey covered 216 households within Miyahuna service area which serves 617,000 households in Amman. The level of process-based, goodwill-based and system based trust were measured and the results showed that customers had generally a fair level of trust across the three elements. The perceived quality of water which was assessed based on colour, odour, taste, biological, chemical and radiological safety. The results showed that water colour, odour and taste were perceived as being good. The views about water safety however, were different. The results confirmed the concerns about water biological and chemical safety and the presence of radioactive matter in their water. Data analysis showed that all three elements of trust had significant influence on the perceived quality. However, the magnitude of the influence varied between the elements. System-based trust is the element of trust that had the biggest influence on perceived quality. Process-based trust had the second biggest influence and good-will based trust had the least influence on perceived quality. Which indicates that people regard having an efficient regulatory system that is monitoring Miyahuna’s performance and ensuring the quality of water thus minimizing health risks is more important than just relying on competency and goodwill of Miyahuna to deliver good quality water. Based on the findings of this research, the authorities have to focus on improving the public trust in the regulatory system governing water quality monitoring since it is the most influential element of trust as demonstrated by the results of this research.

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Brilhante, O. (Ogenis)
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Almomani, A. (Abeer). (2016, September). Customers’ trust and the perception of public drinking water quality in Amman.. Retrieved from