Original Research

Trust in an unwanted service environment: The case of pregnancy termination counselling services

Rachelle Ebersohn, Edwin Theron
Acta Commercii | Vol 14, No 1 | a233 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v14i1.233 | © 2014 Rachelle Ebersohn, Edwin Theron | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2013 | Published: 20 August 2014

About the author(s)

Rachelle Ebersohn, Department of Business Management, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Edwin Theron, Department of Business Management, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Orientation: The South African Termination of Pregnancy Act (No 92 of 1996) promotes the use of non-mandatory counselling before and after a pregnancy is terminated. The reality is, however, that not all women who are faced with the issue of termination are necessarily willing to undergo counselling. The literature revealed that this unwillingness could partly be ascribed to the fact that women do not necessarily trust counsellors and the research thus addressed the question how trust can be managed within this industry.

Research purpose: The purpose of the research reported here was to investigate the influence of communication, empathy, shared values, competence, reputation and support services on trust within the pregnancy termination counselling industry.

Research design, approach and method: A quantitative approach was used to assess the significance of the hypothesised relationships. Self-administered questionnaires were used to target 175 female students of a leading South African university. The data were analysed using regression analysis.

Main findings: The results of the study contradict some often-assumed antecedents of trust.

Managerial implications: Trust within the pregnancy termination counselling industry can be managed by services providers through focusing on personalised communication, empathy, reputation, support services and rapport.

Contribution/value-add: The value of the article is twofold: Firstly, based on the findings, at practitioner level, abortion counsellors will be assisted in how to deal with clients to create trust. Secondly, the findings from the study will assist academics to understand the nature of the unwanted services industry better. Services providers and other policy makers have to rethink their current approaches through which trust is built within the abortion counselling industry.


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