Eight Ways to Erode Supervisor-Student Trust


  • Mbusiseni Celimpilo Dube Social Sciences Education, University of Zululand, South Africa




erode, supervisor, student, trust


Trust between the supervisor and student is the most important element that can pave the way to the completion of a postgraduate degree. If the trust is eroded, it may be difficult for both supervisor and student to work in tandem for the common goal of completing a research study. Trust is the responsibility of both supervisor and student. Using an exploratory case study design, this study sought to explore issues that can erode supervisor-student trust. For data generation, semi-structured interviews were used for five master’s and five PhD students who had completed their degrees; these students were purposively sampled. Data were thematically analysed, and revealed that a harsh manner of approach, a temperamental supervisor, long turnaround time, communication barriers, failure to understand a student’s circumstances, impatience and intolerance, unfair treatment and disrespect can erode supervisor-student trust. Therefore, this study recommends that supervisors should always recognise that the manner in which they interact with students may either make or break that trust. Supervisors should give prompt feedback to students while students can still remember what they wrote. They should always bear in mind that students have other big responsibilities, and take that into account when relating with them.


Received: 4 May 2021 / Accepted: 21 July 2021 / Published: 5 November 2021


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How to Cite

Dube, M. C. . (2021). Eight Ways to Erode Supervisor-Student Trust. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 11(6), 130. https://doi.org/10.36941/jesr-2021-0134