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Managing Trust in High Reliability Organisations:

A study based on the Swiss Aviation Maintenance Industry

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement of the degree of Master of Business Administration of the University of Strathclyde

Andreas Fischbacher Completion 2012, MacTaggart Supervisor Dr. Calvin Burns

Statement of Academic Honesty I declare that this dissertation is entirely my own original work. I declare that except where fully referenced direct quotations have been included, no aspect of this dissertation has been copied from any other source. I declare that all other works cited in this dissertation have been appropriately referenced. I understand that any act of Academic Dishonesty such as plagiarism or collusion may result in the non-award of a Masters degree. Signed .

18th of March, 2012 Dated .

(Andreas Fischbacher)

Most sincere thanks to my project supervisor, Dr. Calvin Burns, who promptly responded to my enquiries, ready to support this project at short notice with very valuable insights and a remarkable amount of input. I could not have chosen a more competent guidance. Thank you to everyone who has supported this project through giving interviews for their valuable contribution, I could not have done without you. I am also very thankful for all supporters of this study for taking their time, advising, listening, reading, or filling a questionnaire. My greatest thanks to my parents who taught me, early on, what trust and confidence really mean and for their ongoing support of my personal development. Greatest thank you also to my wife Anastassia, who almost didnt know anymore who she was married to and supporting after three years of studying in an environment of constant change and uncertainty. Luzern, 18th of March 2012

Motivated by strong interest and personal experience with trust in safety critical organisations a study on the manageability of this phenomenon has been conducted in the authors professional area, aviation. The pivotal role of trust in contributing to safety is well described in academic and empirical research, therefore special interest has been directed on the question how can this contributor, trust, be managed, or engineered to contribute to safety performance within High Reliability Organisations (HROs), defined by exposure to high risks with high losses at stake. The research approach consisted of interviewing three safety managers and a questionnaire survey on a small population of three companies in the Swiss German aircraft maintenance industry. It was empirically confirmed that the formation and improvement of trust can be enhanced indirectly by supporting certain antecedents of trust. The findings also suggest that directly managing or engineering trust is not possible, as trust is of a multifaceted nature that is built upon affective and cognitive antecedents. The parallel existence of trust and mistrust have triggered the question about confidence and criticism, which are perceived in literature as opposite or related aspects. Despite the notion that trust and confidence do not exist simultaneously, all other concepts are seen as potentially coexistent within HROs. The existing model of Conchie and Donald on safety specific functional/dysfunctional forms of trust has been developed further and now includes an enhanced view on affective and cognitive antecedents of trust or confidence. It was also found that clarification is needed about the biases of intention, action, relational aspects and judgements about the past/ presence orientation of trust and confidence motivation. As this study was carried out within a fast changing environment and based on a very small sample from a closely defined population additional research would add greater reliability to the findings. The value of this paper lies in finalizing eight actionable recommendations to managers in aviation maintenance including the need for a clear differentiation between trust and confidence, role model awareness, governance, leadership, transparency, and 4

fairness. These recommendations derived from empirical study may also be valuable to other industries and operations whereas the need to clarify the transferability of findings and data between different kinds and geographies of HROs through further studies has been identified. Additional research areas would include clarification on peer-to-peer relations in safety reporting, and the correlation of game theory and trust in individual deliberation processes.

The word count of this dissertation from chapter 1 including chapter 7 as analysed by Microsoft WORD is 15806


1.1 Background 1.2 The Dilemma of Quality Management and Trust 1.3 Human Factors Training - did it build trust? 1.4 Safety Management introduced 1.5. Research Question 1.6. Research Context 1.7. Aims 1.8. Project outline

3 4 8 9 10
10 10 11 11 13 13 13 14


2.1 Preamble 2.2 Safety Management in Brief 2.3 Definitions and Concepts of Trust 2.4. Aspects and Elements of Trust 2.5 Trust within organisations 2.6 Trust, Risk and Safety in Organisations 2.7 The Dark Side of Trust 2.8 Summary

15 16 18 19 20 23 25 27


3.1 Introduction 3.2 Interviews 3.3 Questionnaire Survey

28 29 33

4.1. Interview Results 4.2. Developing the questionnaire 4.3 Survey Results

35 38 42

5.1 How do the findings of this study relate to present research? 5.2 Rethinking existing concepts 5.3 Questions for Further Research 5.4 Limitations of the current research

44 46 49 50


6.1 Recommendations 6.2 Conclusion

52 55


Appendix 1: Interview Results Open Coded Appendix 2: Survey Results in Detail Appendix 3: Conchie and Donalds (2008) model of safety specific functional and dysfunctional trust and distrust Appendix 4: Survey Questionnaires, Internet Version

57 61 68
68 73 74 75


ERP EASA EN HBR HRO IAEA ICAO ISO KPI PDCA QM SMS SQMS TQM Enterprise Resource Planning (System) European Aviation Safety Agency European Standard (Europische Norm) Harvard Business Review High Reliability Organisation International Atomic Energy Agency International Civil Aviation Organisation International Standardisation Organisation, also used for Standards as issued by ISO Key Performance Indicators Plan-Do-Check-Act (Deming Cycle) Quality Management Safety Management System (ICAO term) (integrated) Safety & Quality Management System Total Quality Management


Displays and Tables are allocated by chapter Display 2.1. Table 2.4 Table 3.2.d Table 4.1.b: Table 4.2.b Table 4.2.c Table 4.3.b Diagram 5.2. Fixes that fail, Norway Petroleum Institute, 2004 Elements of trust by authors (not laterally corresponding) Interview Schedule Themes from Interviews Data requirements table Survey Question Composition Combined Ranking of Findings table Adapted model from Conchie and Donald (2008)


High Reliability Organisations (HROs) are characterised by their exposure to high risks, where compromised reliability (Weick and Sutcliffe, 2007) would result in severe harm, often to lives. Aircraft operations and maintenance belong to this group amongst nuclear power generation, emergency medical treatment, continuous chemical processing and others. In order to increase safety in aviation HROs various systems have been invented, implemented and improved over the last few decades when the aviation industry has undergone continuous development and refinement of standards and requirements, shifting from earlier, predominantly reactive towards more recent pro-active paradigms. Quality management systems emerged out of military standards and have been modelled into ISO standards. Later, Total Quality Management methodologies, encompassing all organisational aspects of Quality Management, and from the late 1990s onwards Aerospace Industry requirements, EN/AS 9100, were becoming standard. Todays integrated Safety and Quality Management Systems (SQMS) are the latest regulatory initiative to build an all encompassing and pro-active systematic to improve aviation safety performance. As present literature and industry publications reflect, little empirical research is currently available on the manageability or effects of trust in HROs with operative quality and safety management systems.



Compliance driven Quality Management Systems rely primarily on specific, measurable and quantifiable parameters. The most common framework, TQM, has yet to overcome some major embedded contradictions, as argued by Harnesk and Abrahamsson (2007). This goes hand in hand with frequent observations by the author, senior consultant in Quality and Safety Management Systems in the aircraft design, production and maintenance. Those observations would confirm a decline of perceived trust among and between operative staff, inspectors and management due to increasingly rigid procedures, leaving less room for personal responsibility and decision-making. A similar effect on the intraorganisational perception of trust had been attributed to the former triple inspection procedures in safety critical areas which had been perceived as distrust


against committed and experienced staff, worsened by inflexible quality management procedures. Aircraft accident investigations showed that overreliance in peer performance, coupled with perceived managerial distrust and disrespect for the individuals honest engagement and reliability, have led to an erosion of procedures initially created for flight safety. Maintenance inspectors began to rely on the checks performed by their colleagues before or after their own inspections. There was no room to discuss, talk, question, and explain, apart from processing only the information that had been formally asked for or already pre-entered on one of the forms to fill and pass on. Pure adherence to policies, procedures and regulations was demanded and only the information documented on forms has been considered valid. As a remedy, hangar staff have, over the last 10 to 15 years, increasingly been engaged in self-checking procedures of their own and peer-performed work, and double checks are only performed for safety critical operations. This is considered as an attempt to cure some of the disengagement of shopfloor staff. An increase in procedural accuracy and reduction of safety critical incidents in aircraft maintenance followed in general, yet the case of procedural inflexibility without room for non-routine information is not considered solved.



From the early to mid 2000s onwards regulators have mandated recurring Human Factors awareness training for operative staff. While such awareness may be very valuable in understanding personal glitches towards desired performance, the regulators shortfall to make these trainings equally mandatory for management has, among staff in many organisations, created the impression of blaming and finger pointing at operators alone for many misses, ignoring organisational and managerial contribution. This resulted in perceptions of unfairness and imbalance which, consequently, blurred the importance of viewing organisational and managerial actions or inactivities as equal contributors to events, with a negative effect on building trust and employee participation.



Worldwide Safety Management System implementation has been mandated by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) in 2006 with an implementation period until January 2012, initiating a shift from compliance driven to performance-based metrics in aviation SMS, welcomed by both, national regulators and the industry as a major improvement of aviation safety in general. In SMS KPI are self-established by


the organisation, based on their own evaluation and commitment to attainable goals. Supported procedures and manuals, corresponding to QM principles like Demings PDCA cycle of continuous improvement, those KPIs, along with the supporting documents and the performance are monitored by regulators. Novel to those SMS or integrated SQMS, todays organisations widely rely on staff involvement to report any and all hazards, risks, near misses, or contributing factors in order to enable evaluation and mitigation of risks to improve safety performance. Damage to employees individual commitment and willingness to share information has been done, now the industry is facing a mixture of problems and challenges to solve in order to promote organisational learning and sharing of information by all employees. In addition to that, HROs are dealing with what Reason (1999) named safety paradoxon, as safety is defined by the absence of events, while preparing for the unexpected, dealing with non-events and curing unexpected events. All of this leaves safety per se difficult to measure, define and improve. Handling and processing of information is pivotal to the sound performance of an SMS. The central question for todays managers and team leaders is about how to encourage their staff to share safety relevant information despite the fact that the reporting individual may not always feel comfortable with content or context of reported issues. Reason (1997) pointed out that specific cultural settings are required, including an atmosphere of trust that fosters and promotes such reporting, called just culture, where a clear line (is) drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. This idea has been picked up by regulators in differentiating between intentional and unintentional and therefore punishable or non-punishable violations or misses in order to fit this philosophy into the existing legislation. This regulatory framework requires for organisations to clearly define the line between the different motivations for actions or near misses in order to establish procedural justice for the reporting or affected individuals to protect and warrant for fair treatment. While just culture frameworks and non-punitive reporting guidelines may encourage operators and inspectors to file more reports the question remains open about how to achieve a higher level of intra-organisational coherence, commitment, learning and sharing in order to win true engagement, not only formal participation. Trust, but verify, this diction ascribed to both Vladimir Lenin and Ronald Reagan, highlights the current dilemma between fulfilling requirements for formal, fair and solid


procedural and regulatory frameworks on one side and achieving a high level of commitment, understanding and flexibility for adaptation and learning on the other. In particular, the manageability of trust shall be investigated in this study and its contribution to safety performance. Managers shall be supported in finding potential measures or tools to foster an atmosphere or culture of openness and freedom from fear in order to perform better in safety.



The above sections suggest that trust is important for safe and reliable operations in the aviation industry. The question this project will investigate is How can trust be managed in order to increase safety performance in aircraft maintenance?



In order to investigate the research question, this project studies different aircraft maintenance organisations within one narrow national cultural context: Germanspeaking Switzerland, all within common specific settings: Quality and Safety Management Systems are mandatory to identical standards; all of the operative staff have undergone Human Factors training; the organisations operate within one specific field of business and professional culture; all of them are required to employ dedicated Quality and Safety Managers. Three interviews were carried out: one large global organisation with almost 3000 staff on site, one mid-size 100-staff, and one small organisation with approximately 20 staff were selected, but only the largest of those three is running shifts. All of them maintain, modify and repair aircraft that are in commercial use for passenger transportation, although in slightly varying sectors. The survey was administered in three organisations, two mid-size of about 60 staff as well one smaller organisation which already participate in the interviews. 1.7. AIMS

The project aims to: 1) extend previous research on the role of trust in safety management in aviation (Burns and Flin, 2004). 2) to make recommendations for managers on how to build trust within the aircraft maintenance industry.


The limitations of this piece of research are drawn within the official concept of safety, as presented by ICAO (see chapter 2). Although transferability of findings between different industries may be highly likely, this paper focuses on the aviation industry only in German speaking Switzerland leaving room for further studies in different geographical, professional and organisational settings.



This study consists of seven chapters. Chapter 2 reviews the literature on trust and safety management. The methodology for this research will be outlined in chapter 3. The remaining four chapters are each dedicated to the findings, the discussion of findings, recommendations and conclusion, and personal reflection.



This part reviews secondary data, based on the availability and searchability of recent academic publications and books. The following methodologies have been applied: following up on authors, topics and links as found in previously known literature; key word search in via the Universitys web access, the knowledge providers listed therein, and via Google and Google scholar; via websites of governmental and international agencies, such as ICAO, Civil Aviation Authorities, Health and Safety Agencies; Academic and industry-related publications and magazines; Repeated screening, following up on new leads and repeated filtering have helped to scrutinize and sort information.



Trust is recognized as indispensable in a good safety culture in high-risk environments, confirmed in literature by James Reason (1997), Conchie, et al. (2006a), Cox, et al. (2006), Conchie and Burns (2008), to name the latest and most prominent research. The shortfalls of Quality Management in terms of not increasing safety by constraining the exchange of information to standardised and formal data only has been highlighted in James Reason (1997) and can be confirmed through the authors personal experience and observations. Deming (1994 in Li and Yan, 2009), known for the PlanDo-Check-Act cycle helped shaping Total Quality Management, but also warned in 1994 (in Li and Yan 2009) that lack of trust would lead to self-protecting islands impairing the organisation. If too rigid, TQM compliance based approaches, as practiced nowadays, might lead to new vicious cycles, as presented in Display 1 from the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (1998) 1 . This display highlights two additional areas that are negatively affected by the typical blame and train (industry jargon) cycle: first, the reduction of trust, leading to fewer safety reports submitted and second, the resulting increase of complexity by inappropriate fixes to underlying problems.

Safety management systems, per definition, build massively on the participation of all staff by reporting safety relevant issues free from fear of sanctions, unless malign intention had motivated actions. These principles of non punitive reporting and just culture have been discussed, tested and applied over years in the major high hazard industries, such as nuclear, transportation, and petroleum, are now a part of the constituent and worldwide applicable basic regulation for aviation safety management

Norway P.S.A.O. in HSE and Culture


in the ICAO Document 9859 (2009). The technical side of this research will deal with safety management systems (SMS) in the context of aircraft maintenance and operations. In 2006 (revised 2009), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) issued Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for mandatory implementation by all member state agencies until January 2012. Display 2.1. Fixes that fail, Norway Petroleum Institute, 2004



The ICAO (2009) defines Safety (as) the state in which the possibility of harm to persons or of property damage is reduced to, and maintained at or below, an acceptable level through a continuing process of hazard identification and safety risk management. As Safety is increasingly viewed as the outcome of the management of certain organizational processes, (ICAO, 2009), it is further concluded that elimination of accidents and/or serious incidents will remain illusional, although desirable, in


dynamic operational settings (ibid.). Hazards will always be part of aviation operations (ibid.), and it is the product of likelihood times severity of impact that determines the level of risks. While the underlying methodology for the calculation of risks and consequent mitigation may be executed or initiated by smaller groups within organisations, behavioural, organisational and cultural factors play a major role in controlling these risks: first of all, the identification and reporting of hazards by all persons in the organisation, next, a high level of alertness to prevent complacency along with building commitment to follow safe practices and standards, and a framework to deal with unexpected outcomes at work. Shifting from reactive treatment to pro-active prevention through learning from errors, mishaps, incidents, and other undesired outcomes reporting plays a pivotal role in shaping organisational safety culture. All of those reports are then collected, analysed and handed to an action group, and staff is kept informed via feedback loops, one of the most important elements in the process (Fleming and Lardner, 2002). Many reports are likely to carry some uncomfortable information for those who report, or for their peers, often leading to fear of punishment or retribution. Sanctioning of reporters is therefore the major roadblock on the way to an open reporting culture. The term just culture has been shaped in the 1990s by Reason, Hudson, and others in order to define a framework to encourage reporting, particularly self- and peerreporting. By enacting punitive measures only on grossly negligent or intentional violations on one side and highlighting, even rewarding, acting responsibly on the other, a greater number of reports will be triggered through obvious judicial fairness. This two-fold approach has a direct impact on safety performance of the organisation as a greater number reliability-diminishing hazards and risk can be treated for prevention. The Just culture model has recently been further developed by Hudson et al. (2006) into a model of managed expectations. Clearly communicated rules and expectations empower employees to take their own decision in matching explicit expectations, entrusting them with part of the decisionmaking. In aviation, like in any other business, it will not be economically viable to strive for absolute certainty, reliability, or safety, which leaves operators with the production/protection dilemma. In his 1997 book managing the risks of organisational accidents James Reason presents the model of balancing production and protection,


opposing the popular view that companies should do everything for safety. The most practicable level of risk mitigation has been named ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) (ICAO, 2009), which is now recognized as the measure of acceptability to all stakeholders.



The Oxford Dictionary defines trust as firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something (2012). Regarding organisational research, a widely recognized and supported definition is found in Rousseau et al. (1998): Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behaviour of another. This definition is frequently applied on models and frameworks within which trust exists, according to Rousseau et al. (1998), and has been widely supported in literature since, substantiating the validity as the underlying definition for this paper. It also reflects an earlier description of trust as the willingness to be vulnerable (Mayer et al.,1995). For the purpose of this paper the differentiation between cognitive and rational forms of trust such as a competitive or cooperative attitude between persons in business transactions (Bigley and Pearce, 1998) shall be drawn against trust as a more personal characteristic, being a subjective probability (Rotter, 1971, Gambetta, 1998, both in Bhattacharya et al., 1998). Trust can also be seen as a trade-off between situational control for the gain of controlling who shall be trusted and what we trust to be the benefit of this act, yet possibly blurred by expectations of social behaviour (Midden and Huijts, 2009, Lfsted and Cvetkovich, 1999). Such trade-offs also include the cognitive or affective balance of risks between different sorts of benefits, an aspect that will be referred to below. Frequently, Midden and Huijts' (2009) aspect of trust as enabler or lubricator for innovative and creative behaviour can be found quoted in managerial (Kramer, 2009) and academic literature (Lftsted, 2008). Other discussions refer to the level of propensity to trust varying with the level of selfrelevance of the subject to the trustor where closer proximity to the outcome is likely to promote or evoke affective decisions, or actions (Midden and Huijts, 2009), a concept used by Kramer (2009) to formulate basic rules for trust-building behaviour for the readership of HBR by giving recommendations, such as creating simple gestures of physical proximity, like greeting rituals (handshakes, etc.) to create a sense of solidarity to strengthen the propensity to cooperate.




Based on the suggestion by Li and Yan (2009) trust within organisations could be conceived as four-directional: horizontally, among staff and teams, and vertically, in superior subordinate relations. Generally, trust comprises of overt and covert, implicit and explicit elements (Burns et al., 2006). Bolman and Deal (2008) contrast a task focused overt, conscious level with a process and relationship oriented, more implicit level.

From the early and mid nineties onwards, trust has also been defined as multi-staged and sequential construct by Shapiro (1992) and Lewicki and Bunker (1996) both referred to in Clark and Payne (2006). These three stages would comprise of calculus, knowledge, and identification-based trust and as such would be found in organisational and professional relations. Schoorman, Mayer, Davis (1995, 2007) described a construct of three parallel existing major antecedents of trust: ability, benevolence and integrity. Mishra (1996, in Clark and Payne, 2006), presents four, very similar dimensions: competence, openness, concern, and reliability, and Butler, quoted by Clark and Payne (2006) defined ten major aspects of trust. To give a better overview, a listing of different aspects of trust is presented in table 2.4 below.

Table 2.4 Elements of trust by authors (not laterally corresponding)

Butler (1991) Schoorman, et al (1995) Clark& Payne (1997 in Clarke et al., 2006) dimensions competence integrity fairness consistency loyalty openness Mishra (2004, in Clarke et al., 2006) dimensions concern competence reliability openness Hurley (2006)

conditions openness receptivity availability fairness loyalty promise fulfilment integrity competence discreteness consistency

antecedents benevolence ability integrity

aspects risk tolerance level of adjustment relative power security number of similarities alignment of interests benevolent concern capability predictability and integrity level of communication


In their example trust between thieves, Schoorman, et al. (1996) also debate the separabilty of those antecedents, where benevolence and ability alone, without the third component, integrity, would suffice to constitute trust between peers. Further evidence for the distinctiveness of those concepts is highlighted in Gill, Knoll (2011) where the perception of procedural justice, according to Frazier et al. (2010), would be more related to perceived integrity and ability rather than benevolence. In the same paper by Gill and Knoll, the findings of Payne and Clark (2003) are quoted for high risk and safety sensitive operations, where the supervisors ability is regarded to be of higher importance to staff than perceived benevolence or integrity, equally when trusting a subordinate, where ability was found to be the strongest contributor. Knoll and Gill (2011) conclude that trust between supervisors and subordinates is shaped by mutual dependence on outcomes, mutual vulnerability is therefore based on common interest in good quality of delegated tasks execution. A more radical view on the relation between trust and ability in technocratic systems is presented by Mishra (2006, in Clarke et al., 2006) who put ability as prerequisite to trust in any forms, as the absence of ability would render the outcomes of actions unimportant to the trustor. Apart from relationship-based perspectives, perceptions of trust in social exchange could be considered character-based as presented by Clark and Payne (2006), based on Dirks and Ferrins approach. Employee empowerment as a form of leadershipmember exchange and form of reciprocative trust, as Gill (2006) summarizes, means showing confidence in the correct execution of tasks by trusting the employee to pursue the goals and mission in their own personal way with the risk that mistakes will be made.



Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction. (Bennis, 1989 in Hoogervorst et al., 2004) Trust as a part of an organisational culture is shaped by many different aspects, conditions, antecedents, dimensions, as highlighted in table 2.4. As in societies, trust within organisations helps to lubricate and facilitate complexity reduction between societal and regulatory processes, as Lftstedt (2005) suggests in his model about society-regulator interaction, a justifiable similarity for HROs which are not only externally regulated by governmental agencies, but also internally by quality, safety, and compliance agents. Implicitly and explicitly present, trust can also be considered as provider of the emotional glue that binds leaders and followers together (Bennis


and Nanus in Gill, 2006), acting as lubricant in Leader-Member-Exchange. This supports the view of Bigley and Pearce (1998), who stated that the research on trust in the context of business had shifted from the focus on transaction cost economics towards the view on trust as being a phenomenon that could affect certain kinds of governance costs. In intraorganisational conflicts emotions can be considered as having positive mediating effects on perceptions of trust, as Chen and Ayoko (2012) claim, quoting Ronson and Peterson and argue that conflicts have a supporting effect on the development of trust within groups, fostered by prolonged conflict duration, as empirically found by Ayoko and Pekerti (2008 in Chen, Ayoko, 2012). This finding is underpinned by the IAEA (2002), stating that suppressed or ignored conflicts would lead to problems surfacing elsewhere, and if not solved, conflicts in safety critical areas would degenerate trust into mutual blame and mistrust. Consequently, employees need to feel comfortable in addressing conflicts, and in doing so employees show confidence. The dealing with conflicts and emotions may create a sense of proximity and conscious alignment of interests, horizontally and vertically, resulting in trust as the reasonable response according to Hurley (2006). Higher performance and satisfaction among a team, as Earle (2010a) argues, will result from shared values and mutual trust. Generally, the resulting increased psychological safety reduces anxiety and uncertainty found among relative strangers, as Bhattacharya et al. (1998) state, thereby supporting the construct of propensity to trust. According to Schoorman, Mayer, Davis (2007) trust at the beginning of relations, is more of a dispositional nature. With longer duration of relationships, trust becomes increasingly relational, built mostly through the perception of ability and integrity. Benevolence, on the other side, as the earlier quoted third dimension in Mayers, et al. 1995 model, possesses a stronger long-term orientation and will only play a later role in building trust. Personal traits and situational ambiguity are also playing an important role in interpersonal trust within organisations, particularly in team-building. Reason (1997) has suggested, for the benefit of general alertness, to compose teams of diverse characters, backgrounds, levels of experience, among others properties, in order to widen the collective awareness by pool(ing) observations. In addition to Reasons idea of team diversification, Weick (1987) described the benefits of consistent teams in nuclear reactor control by establishing a collective requisite


variety, addressing the benefits of pooled and combined abilities and capabilities and an enhanced level of trust in others and oneself as actor, observer and reporter. Participative remuneration, (not to be confused with benevolent donoring, or performance related initiatives), socialisation, and empowerment are prominent actors among the most common ways to create common interest and identity, as Bhattacharya (1998) summarizes, through the creation of common concern for each others outcomes and mutual trust by proximity. Criticism of the instrumentalisation of trust and distrust and the use of those terms in synonymity with cooperation and competition among staff, had been repeatedly expressed in trust research, see Bigley and Pearce (1998), summarized by Schoorman, et al. (2007). However, trust and distrust need not be seen as opposing, but separate dimensions, as formulated by Burns et al. (2006) as well as earlier by Lewicki, McAllister, and Bies (1998, in Schoorman, Mayer, et al. 2007). Burns et al. (2006) provided empirical proof that trust and distrust are positively correlated, therefore simultaneously present. This finding entails potential implications for safety management systems as discussed in the same 2006 paper. Accordingly, moderate levels of distrust would lead to an underlying attitude of being wary in parallel to trusting, preventing from complacency, one of the potential dark sides of trust, discussed by Reason (1997). This concept of distrust as a valuable attitude to prevent from such effects has been named creative mistrust by Hale (2000). The value of this wariness for high-reliability operations is then (Reason 1997) carried further, advocating for a state of chronic unease in order to prevent from falling into the comfort zone of illusional safety. This illusion would be produced through the absence of events or presence of non-events, the safety paradoxon (Reason, 1997), attributing this back to Weicks (1987) discussion about the deceptive and misleading diagnosis of seemingly stable operations. Implicit communication plays a major role in various forms of trust. Top management first, managers are unquestionably regarded as role models by staff. Allert and Chatterjee (1997), among others, promote the idea of trust largely built upon the way how the organisations leaders communicate, how they listen to staff, how relations are built and maintained. Clarke and Ward (2006) extend this view to the idea of developing leadership facilitating safety culture in high-risk organisations through having a leader capable of consulting, inspiring, rationally persuading to motivate employees commitment to safety reporting if their leaders listen to feedback from staff or show empathy. It has been widely suggested by Blau (1964) and Fox (1974), both quoted in Cox, et al. (2006), that trust is being reciprocated in organisations, with


Hurley (2006) and Kramer (2009), giving practical suggestions for managers how to do so. Explicit communication through policies, symbols, statements, declarations etc. is of unquestioned importance to building trust in organisations, but it is mostly the congruence between explicitly and implicitly, intentionally or unintentionally communicated messages to evoke trust, scepticism, or, on the long run cynicism among staff, as Hoogervorst et al. (2004) point out. Inconsistent messages produce conflict between perceived realities or organisational, professional, cultural values, which may also be the case when politics within organisations are not fully aligned, which then could occupy (a) great amount of employees time and energy, as highlighted by Li & Yan (2009). Another aspect of leadership responsibility is the alignment of values within all aspects of operations inside the organisation, as well as establishing common goals, mutual needs, or expectations, not only to foster trust, but also to motivate by creating directional communality, as for example stated by Burns (1979, in Hoogervorst, et al. 2004). 2.6 TRUST, RISK AND SAFETY IN ORGANISATIONS

The interplay of trust, risk, and control systems continues to be a much debated topic. (Schoorman, Mayer, Davis, 2007) The introduction of formal SMS raised questions in the industry about which cultural aspects should result in higher safety outcomes. Before the ICAO issued their globally valid document 9859 Safety Management Manual in 2006, various publications from the nuclear and oil and gas industry turned the focus on non-regulative, soft factors as highly important actors in organisational safety. In 2002, the IAEA stated that internal communications need to be based on mutual trust and postulated, applying Edgard Scheins three level model of organisational culture, that the basic assumption People can be trusted to do what is right should be a part of organisational safety culture. In consequence, related espoused values, e.g. employee empowerment, and artefacts, such as formal and active contribution should be visible. This would also require free flow of information through a fully connected network, which would only work if there is trust among all the participants. This is confirmed by the Norway Petroleum Institute (2004) who underlines the importance of an anxiety-free climate of trust being essential to reporting where people admit to their own mistakes, risking potential loss of psychological safety through


exposure, appearing incompetent, or losing face, as argued by Li and Yan (2004). The Norway Petroleum Institute (2004) remarks, howerver, that confidential reporting, as practised widely in various industries, should only be considered as step in the right direction, when the goal is to establish a strong sense of security and trust to render confidential reporting unnecessary. According to Scott and Walsham (in Perry and Scott, 2009), one of the motivations to report safety critical issues can be attributed to a system of personal and organisationally shared values if the outcome of unsafe conditions poses a threat to those values. People arent used to giving praise for reliability, Reason (2000) quotes Weick to address the problem of understanding the importance of safety procedures, hazard reporting etc. in a well working and disturbance-free organisation. Referring to Weick, James Reason (2000) shaped the term safety paradox for that particular ambiguity. It seems paradox for people to report non-events and to follow procedures that are to prevent from something that they had never seen happen, seldomly motivated by emotional proximity or strong cognitive insight from earlier events. Meeting this challenge by good governance is pivotal for establishing and managing a good safety culture. This is addressed in most of the referenced publications by stressing out the need for aligned values, clear communication and a high degree of staff identification with the organisation. Lam (2004) states that risk management is about balancing processes and people, and the soft sides of risk management consist of People, Integrity, Culture & Values, Trust & Communication (Lam, 2004). The almost synonymous use of the terms trust and confidence in relation to trust and risk, has spurred discussions in the academic world about the interplay of the aspects of certainty, risk, and uncertainty in relation to the nature of trust, necessitating the term confidence to be examined further. A public academic debate about the difficulties of distinguishing trust from confidence has been led between Siegrist (2010) and Earle (2010b). Earle (2010a) suggests a combined model of trust, confidence and cooperation. Within this model, trust is presented as relation and intention based, in difference to confidence as calculative and ability based, relating to past experiences. Siegrist (2010) questions the validity of this concept due to methodological concerns and uncertainties about establishing value similarities. Further research on relation between the more forward oriented orientation of trust (intentional) and the more backward looking (past-experience) nature of


confidence could no be found, this might present an interesting case for further research. Trusting, in a social and organisational context, involves trading off different sorts of risks, as Lfsted and Cvetkovich (1999) line out. The prevention of physical risks, like accidents or environmental risks, is traded in for social risks, or vice versa. Consequently, the concept of trust as facilitator builds on expecting other actors behaviour producing desired outcomes while taking the risk that the outcome might not conform to expectation when acting or when, for example, reporting within a SMS. Lfsted and Cvetkovich (1999) specifically distinguish between personal, face-to-face and impersonal, organisational forms of trust. In organisations, or operations, where persons exerting critical tasks are often unknown, and therefore more distant to the trustor risk management would, in consequence, be a more formal and structured act in order to increase all participants confidence in those operations. One might conclude that lower risks emulate higher confidence, based on higher levels of control, as opposed to trust as facilitator to promote activities bearing higher risks and lower levels of control. Bhattacharya et al. (1998) summarize this point by stating trust cannot exist in an environment of certainty; if it did, it would do so trivially. In this ambiguous field between trust and control, debate has been about trust and control being alternate concepts (Schoorman, et al., 2007), but not mutually exclusive. This may well be stretched to fit to aviation safety, as control and regulation are going hand in hand to ensure compliance to legal and technical standards. Within, or on top of this framework, trust is necessary to promote the propensity to social risk exposure (see Das and Teng, 2004) when participating in the reporting process in often uncertain and unpredictable situations. Trust is thereby filling the critical gap in the risk trade-off (Weick, 2007), for those who report non-standard issues and non-events, thus balancing perceived risks.



If you are convinced that your organisation has a sound safety culture, you are almost certainly mistaken. (James Reason, 1997) In his 2009 HBR Article, Kramer paints a detailed picture of the dark sides of trust, stating that virtually any indicator of trustworthiness can be manipulated or faked. The innate human propensity to trust is enhanced by similar social background, physiognomy, supported by neurochemistry, and trusting behaviour is rewarded by positive emotions. This comes at a price: Connell and Mannion (2006) consider overly


trust-based relationships within power and knowledge asymmetric relationships between individuals to be the major contributor to disfunctionally complacent, or cosy and even exclusionary formations of groups or groupthink. Both would inhibit open exchange of information and the reception of shared values. In addition to that, Cox et al. (2006) argue that complacency can lead to organisational blindness, based on comfortable trusting experiences and non-events. Faking trust, according to Kramer (2009), is a frequent phenomenon, created by simulation of similarities in values, social attachment or other social engineering techniques, e.g. the provision of fake references from trusted third parties (transitive trust). The propensity to being mislead is further supported by the trustors confirmatory bias, ergo the proclivity to see what we want to, and our implicit theories, the natural inclination to correlate observable traits to stereotypes stored in our brains, thus evoking a different reality about the trustee. Simple verification experiments conducted by Kramer (2009) prove our unrealistically overoptimistic attitude, making us extremely vulnerable to manipulation through faked signs of trustworthiness. Williams (2007 in Li and Yan, 2009) presented three major interpersonal risks within hierarchical workplace relationships: harm from opportunism, unintended neglect of individual interests by others and identity damage during interactions seriously harming the propensity for affective trust. This affective interpersonal trust, observed by Li and Yan (2009) is necessary for people to open oneself and participate in social exchange and trusting behaviour. Dunn and Schweitzer (2005) suggest that emotions influence trust and thereby create unreliable behaviour, while emotional attachment between persons can lead to a higher propensity to taking higher or sudden risks, a point that is supported, too, by Schoorman et al. (1996), showing that supervisors tend to engage in higher risk with employees they trust. To counterbalance these undesired effects, risks, behaviour unreliabilities, Turner and Pidgeon (in Cox et al., 2006) suggest that safety culture is dynamic, contingent, and unstable, contrary to a rigid, stable and inflexible construct. This corresponds to Reasons (1997) chronic unease, presented earlier, and helps to facilitate healthy scepticism, balance distrust and deal with conflicts in order counterbalance these common fallacies.




For the purpose of this paper, only two forms of trust are considered relevant for HROs: intraorganisational trust and interpersonal trust within organisational frameworks. The view that trust and confidence are two separate mutually exclusive concepts is adopted for this study. This distinction and the relation between reporting, taking risks and balancing conflicts, uncertainties and emotions will have implications on how trust will be further investigated in this study and Rousseaus (1998) definition of trust shall be referred to from here onwards. The importance of leadership and shared value systems has been highlighted, as well as the value of judicial fairness to incentivise safety reporting and the recognition of the personal dilemma of reporters and the importance of their contribution to a functioning SMS of an HRO.




Positivism and phenomenology are two research philosophies that stand out in management research literature: positivism assumes that there is an objective reality whereas phenomenology assumes the existence of multiple realities. Positivists argue that occurrences, experiences, events and trends can be observed and measured objectively. The positivist philosophy presumes that the researcher should not impact on the data being collected or how it is analysed because objective methods are used. In the social sciences, it is inclined towards the use of quantitative data and statistical analysis. Phenomenology is concerned with the study of experiences from the perspective of the individual and as such is subjective in nature. Phenomenology is inclined towards the use of qualitative methods and accepts that the researcher can impact on the data being collected and how it is analysed. This project is about trust in high reliability organizations. The definition of trust adopted for use in this project is Rousseaus (1998) definition of trust as a psychological state based on a willingness to be vulnerable. This definition is consistent with a phenomenological approach as it recognizes multiple subjective realities (i.e. different people will experience trust differently). In this mixed method approach a survey will be informed by interviews, which are carried out first. Interviews are widely used in management research to yield qualitative data in order to explore a subject and its phenomena, particularly if non-structured or semi-structured interviews are used. Even when the interviewers bias is taken into account, interviews can provide new and unexpected insights that reflect the interviewees attitude to a high extent. Semi-structured interviews will be employed in this study. A survey, one of the main quantitative research designs in management research, does neither interfere with naturally occurring events nor does it try to control them, simply drawing a snapshot of what is happening usually by asking people about it. This project will adopt the survey design for the generation of quantitative data. It usually involves the use of questionnaires but other methods like interviews (yielding qualitative data) lend themselves to this research design as well. Employing a mixed-method qualitative study is therefore defended by the nature of the research subject, dealing with multiple realities of individuals.


3.2 3.2.a

INTERVIEWS Justification for using interviews

The first part of primary data collection for this project consists of semi-structured with three key persons. In a next step, the responses were open coded from the notes taken during the interviews in order to extract the most relevant topics from which the survey will be constructed. Full data reliability cannot be ensured using this process due to interviewer bias and the low number of interviewees. By interviewing three safety managers with a similar professional expertise as the interviewer, some degree of communality in attitude and bias shall be established. A further increase in data quality is achieved by omitting probing and only asking open questions. As the author and interviewer is an experienced aerospace auditor, opening and leading an interview in an appropriate manner is considered to be part of the skillset applied. By open coding and listing interview results, the bias of the author is supposed to be reduced to a minimum. These interviews precede the questionnaire survey for the following reasons: a) to get a broader view from industry experts in top and middle management about how trust can be built/influenced; b) adjust the research question based on qualified opinions from industry experts; c) allow for the author to reflect on his own influence on the research design and evaluation as being a practitioner in the field in a double role. d) interviews have been considered more appropriate to explore the topic in greater depth and breadth instead of asking for mere input of data in writing from experienced executives; The interviews have been conducted in a semi-structured way in order to accommodate for flexibility to follow unanticipated leads for deeper exploration of the issues that would arise during the interview by 1) allowing for flexibility in the sequence of addressing topics and 2) sorting complex issues. Some of the issues were answered during the natural flow of the interview. This worked very well towards an explorative interview style which would be hindered by ticking boxes or following a rigid list of questions.


Interview Participants

The selection of the interview participants followed the criteria of a) expertise and professional background; b) present role in an organisation fitting to the scope of this research;


c) personal accessibility to these persons and their willingness to support this study; d) minimal differences in professional and organisational culture; An initial email request to three well known Quality and Safety Managers in the Swiss Aviation Industry, followed by a telephone brief aimed at creating interest in the topic. The suggestion to hold the interview at the offices of the participants and at a time of their convenience was possible due to the authors flexibility and supposedly has supported the readiness of the participants to agree to the interview. In addition, it was not deemed appropriate to ask executives to travel for a research interview. None of the three persons addressed has declined, probably due to the fact that informal personal contact had been established over the preceding years at various industry-specific conferences. In the preparatory stage of the interviews, most recent information about the organisation of the participants had been researched if any breaking or disturbing news about the company would influence the interview or should be addressed to avoid situations of ambiguity.


Interview Procedure

Each interview was set for approximately 90 minutes leaving enough room to explore unanticipated topics, issues or findings. Four days ahead of the interview, a schedule of the interview questions and the Participant Information Sheet regarding research ethics has been sent to the participants to inform the interviewees in advance and as a gentle reminder of the arrangement. Each interview was initiated by a short introduction to the researcher, his specific motivation and interest in the topic as well as the framework, the central question and the central idea of exploring on the possibilities for guidance for managers in this area. Additional interest and motivation were evoked by giving a few insights into current research literature, which led to brief and interesting initial discussions to warm up for the interview. Genuine interest in the topic existed in all three of the participants, two of whom had recently contributed to the latest annual Swiss Aviation Safety Conference. Referring to some similarities between the research topic and their contributions could engage stronger interest. Research ethics and data anonymity was reassured, and complete copies of collected data were offered to be sent later. All participants signed the Consent Form ahead of the interview and agreed to being recorded if it should turn out to be better than notetaking, but, finally, no need was seen to record any of the interviews.


Taking notes instead of recording was preferred for the following reasons: no technical devices had to be controlled; no object of potential merciless disclosure threatening the readiness to talk openly; resource awareness: the interviews were carried out in German, transcripts would have to be translated; no time-consuming transcription and evaluation needed; potentially losing some detail of questions or answers; losing direct quotes (although some direct quotes have been written down in the interview notes); potential lack of focus. The disadvantages of taking notes were taken into account.

Due to similar professional and cultural backgrounds no extra precautions as relating to culture, language, or conflict of interest needed to be observed before or during the interview.


Developing the Interview Schedule

The questions for the interviews have been brainstormed through the lens of a Safety Manager in a typical organisation. After sorting, all questions were then grouped and reviewed again, based on the concept of separating all questions relating to antecedents of trust within the specific setting for the interviews, from those questions that carried an action focus based on the motivation to trust as input for the survey questionnaires. Care was taken to formulate open questions with the aim to derive management motivations and organisational factors that would influence or trigger certain intentions and consequent behaviour on the shop level through the lens of middle or top management, rather than obtaining pure statements of management opinions. The specific background and underlying reasoning for each interview question is detailed in table 3.2.d, the detailed responses are displayed in Appendix 1.


Table 3.2.d Interview Schedule

Interview Question a) How easy did you find top management commitment to the latest set of values and performance criteria as stipulated in the new SMS? Reasoning and background Commitment is supposed to be one of the typical management responsibilities in creation of trust. Also, it is stipulated by ICAO and has been highlighted as major management responsibility in high-risk organisations by Reason (1997), Clarke and Ward (2006) , Kramer (2009).

b) How much effort does it require Common opinion considers walk the talk and walk to keep the commitment up at around as major factors in maintaining a good atmosphere a good level? of trust, doing so is part of the necessary communication. See also Hoogervorst et al.(2004) on consistency of communication, Hudsons (2001) WALK/TALK dimensions c) What are the biggest challenges balancing the new requirements with the existing culture? d) Do you have any measure for the level of commitment of middle management? New requirements (per ICAO, 2006) necessitate change, which poses challenges, especially in highly regulated/high compliance organisations. If not conducted carefully, change can result in increased scepticism, distrust, and disengagement. Question out of interest if any quantifiable measure is known or applied in this field. Potential benchmark for the congruence between talk and walk by top management, as middle management is typically buffering misalignments in governance. See also Cox, et al.(2006) Potential to discover any surfaced and consciously known antecedents of trust that are employed in shaping the organisations culture. See Butler (1991) in Clark et al. (2006), Conchie et al. (2006) Communication playing a crucial role in organisations, particular SMS, and is missing the goal if only applied topdown. Safety communication is defined by ICAO (2006), Norway Petroleum (2004), Earle (2010), Cox et al. (2006) What explicit artefacts, symbols, policies exist? Any practical experiences? Visibility? Referenced at Hoogervorst et al. (2004), Hudson (2001) Are there any success factors and visible results to gauge effectivity of change through SMS, based on willingness, awareness and propensity to report? See also Hale et al. (2010), Cox et al. (2006), Reason (1997) Hudson (2006)

e) What relation between trust and just culture and other elements (fairness, feedback, team building) do you see in your organisation? f) Do you think trust is an antecedent or a result of good communication?

g) Do you have any campaigns that deal with the element of trust, any challenges/results? h) Do you see a change in the number and the way of submission of safety reports since formal commitment ? i)

Does trust cost? (Establishing, A practioners question regarding other practitioners maintaining, dark sides, opinions or personal insights on this topic. No specific benefits, quantifiable) scientific literature found on the cost of trust, only on the dark side, e.g. Kramer (2009) YOUR specific view on trust: Open question, asking for personal inputs, ideas, free from any recommendations, visions, constraints but related to the organisation. and ideas? Open question, asking for personal inputs, ideas, free from constraints but related to the organisation.


k) What would YOU invest in relation to trust if you had a specific budget?




In the second phase of primary data collection survey questionnaires have been designed on the basis of the explorative interviews by combining the key topics obtained through open coding of the interviews with Schoorman, Mayer and Davis antecedents of trust: ability and integrity. (Schoorman, et al. 2007) 3.3.a Sampling

Sampling was by means of non-probability purposive sampling through addressing selected individuals of this relatively homogeneous population from three aircraft maintenance organisations within one narrow national cultural context, German speaking Switzerland, and with common specific settings in terms of legal and regulatory compliance. All of them employ dedicated quality and safety staff for their ICAO compliant SMS. For the survey two mid-size organisations with approximately 60 staff and one small organisation with approximately 20 staff gave consent to participating. 133 potential respondents have been informed via e-mail, through their superior or management, or directly by the author of the study with managements consent. In this way, quick access has been gained while meeting the tight timeframe and limited resources available. Additional substantiation of the sampling methodology is given by the populations homogeneity in professional, cultural and organisational aspects while having to ensure full anonymity of respondents, which excluded the conducting of in-depth interviews for qualitative data gathering for explorative purposes. The number of respondents directly addressed is considered sufficient presuming a minimum of 25% response rate which would yield n=32, sufficient, according to Stutely (2003, in Saunders, et al., 2009) producing results close to normal distribution and is deemed to suffice in this case as three criteria for the acceptance of such small sample are met: 1) small variance, 2) small population and 3) acceptance of low accuracy. The bias created through this high degree of control over the sample cases by specific selection and addressing of participants is considered tolerable within the settings of the survey, which is 1) already distorted through the recency of SMS requirements resulting in low degrees of routine and, possibly, as full acceptance of this new system is not achieved yet throughout all staff; 2) lower robustness and accuracy of findings required as no generalisation for a whole industry or geography is intended, rather than a cross-sectional in-depth investigation on a novel issue, mirroring a snapshot in time for explorative purposes.




To match low cost with quick reach, response and evaluation while guaranteeing for anonymity, an internet mediated self-administered questionnaire has been made available via password via e-mail to each individual of the population, who are all computer literate. The questionnaire has been translated into German by the (native German) author to avoid semantic bias and distortion of responses. 20 forced choice questions on a 5-category Likert-scale had been mixed to avoid similar topics appearing sequentially. A complete sample of the actually administered questionnaire is found in Appendix 4, including sources and targets of the translated questions for reference. To break the barrier, the questionnaire opens with a simple and easy to answer factual question, 2 of the 20 questions are inserted to allow for checking internal reliability one in the first third and one in the last third to allow for detection of fatigue bias. 10 days of response time have been set, and initially slow response has been accelerated via a restaurant voucher raffle among those participants who were willing to disclose their email addresses without correlation to their responses. As, due to time and resource constraints, full validation and pilot testing of the questionnaire was not performed, two aviation specialists checked the questionnaire for face validity and clarity of formulation, construct validity has not been tested, based on the more exploratory focus of the study and lacking the intention to generate predictive results.


In this chapter the findings of the interviews and the questionnaire survey are presented. The implications of these findings will be discussed in subsequent chapters. 4.1. 4.1.a INTERVIEW RESULTS Participants

Three Safety Managers from aircraft maintenance organisations located in German Switzerland were interviewed at their offices: in one large global organisation with almost 3000 staff on site, one mid-size 100-staff, and one small organisation with approximately 20 staff.


Thematic Analysis

The notes taken during the interviews were thematically analysed, this analysis yielded 12 main themes, summarized in Table 4.1. The numbers in parentheses indicate the sequential location of the results in table 4.2.b to inform the survey questions. A few quotes from the interviews shall be presented to exemplify the themes identified. One participant stated on safety culture: If you dont walk the talk as a leader, the whole idea is led ad absurdum, summarising the general importance of transparent and consistent leadership, as reflected in key themes 2, 4 and 5, reflected in the so called promoters of trust intention in table 4.2.b. Another interviewee remarked that middle management is like a layer of clay in their respective large organisation, and working to establish permeability in this layer by creating engagement, by actually walking the talk, is one of the boards greatest challenges at the moment, adding authenticity to his attitude by talking about problems, regardless from which organisational unit, in we form, proving a high level of integration and identification. Those aspects of management commitment, transparency and explicit culture are identified as promoters 3, 5, 7 and 8 in table 4.2.b. All persons interviewed expressed corresponding views on the importance of consistency in leadership, robustness of procedures, procedural safety and open and transparent communication. Two of the three interviewed stressed out the importance of a continuous learning process, ...once you have started an SMS, youre on the road to improvement, and youll see what all else needs to be done and learnt... all of them mentioning the


special need of enough, or more time to listen, inform and practise what is being said. This taken to add substantiation to promoters 2 and 8. One of the interviewed stated we are more conscious now how important it is to compose teams in a certain way, paying attention to political, personal, productive and technical aspects, supporting promoters 6 and 8. Asked the open question which measure would be considered most important to start with to increase trust within the organisation, the answer has been a very succinct train the leader first!. This statement is used as amplifying input for the aspects 2, 3 and 4 of table 4.2.b. One issue which surfaced during the interviews: The fairness, usefulness and defendability of a financial reward system for cooperative behaviour is heavily disputed within the organisation of which the Safety Manager has been interviewed. This programme has been established to honour cooperative behaviour, which includes reporting of safety relevant issues, proactive behaviour in problem solving, as well as personal conduct. Implemented for a few months before the interviews were conducted, it has been introduced instead of a raise. At the time of closure of this study, the debate is ongoing.


Table 4.1.b: Themes from Interviews Interview Question, 3.2.d) a) Effort and effectiveness of management commitment to cope with latest changes. the introduction of SMS b) Effort required to keep management commitment at good level c) Challenges in balancing new requirements with cultural change

d) Is management commitment being monitored? e) Interaction between trust, just culture and other cultural elements under change

f) Trust seen as result or antecedent of good communication g) Intraorganisational campaigns to support change h) Tangible outcomes from change i) Does trust cost money to establish?

j) Interviewees personal views and recommendations k) Which measures are most important, from interviewees personal view l) additional remarks from interviewees

Key Themes extracted - 360 transparency (1) - walk the talk, public ratification (2) - presence at shop level (10) - communication (3,8) - value congruence (6,7) - presence (10) - transparent framework adaption (1) - overcome fear, establish common understanding (9) - management as role model (3) - provide results (2) - leadership call (3,4) - how to permeate layer of clay (8) - be present, talk to people (3,10) - just culture as essential leadership task (4) - balance acts sanctioning and fairness (12) - talk, feedback, fairness (8,1,12) - robustness of processes (9) - growth process (4,5) - establish sense of community (6,7) - talk same language (7,8) - financial incentive model to reward cooperative behaviour (11) - procedural safety (9) - positive trend in numbers of reports (2) - positive trend in direct communication (10) - requires additional labour (5) - time consuming (2) - more attention on team composition to manage groupthink, org. politics (8) - leaders, walk the talk! (2) - consistency & continuity most important (4) - management: show presence (3,10) - train leaders (3,4) - involve everyone in trainings (2,3,5,10) - allow time for growth (4,5) - trust is the lubricant (6,7) - reduce ambiguity (1,8) - provide enough staff resources (2,5)

This translates into: 1 2 3 4 5 6 transparency walk the talk authenticity leadership consistency management commitment value congruence 7 8 9 explicit culture low ambiguity procedural safety

10 management proximity 11 financial incentive 12 fairness




In addition to primary data as collected and condensed through interviews, secondary data will inform the construction of the questionnaire. A data requirements table has been established in order to weave in the interview findings as promoters of trust intention, listed in the left column of table 4.2.b, with the promoted/ induced antecedents of trust or cognitive dimensions of motivated behaviour, found in the two upper rows. In this way, specified managerial attitudes (promoters) can be related to specific outcomes (promoted).



Secondary data have been derived from authors and researchers based on the review of literature. The concepts of ability, integrity and benevolence have been taken for granted as defined by Schoorman et al. (1996), substantiated by ubiquitous occurrence in literature. The details of those aspects to promote trusting behaviour have been interpreted in the following way for practical application: 1) ABILITY is conveyed by consistent leadership, management commitment, low ambiguity within the organisation 2) INTEGRITY is visible through transparency, authenticity, and walking the talk, supported by consistent leadership and management commitment, high similarity of values, procedural safety and justice, and perceived fairness. 3) BENEVOLENCE, defined by Schoorman et al. (2007) as a perceived bias of non-egocentric intention to do good for the trusting party. In addition to those three antecedents of trust, two cognitive dimensions have been identified by the author: confidence, as an action motivator, and sound criticism as intrinsically trust-motivated behaviour that converts uncertainty and caution into solution based questioning of a status quo. The first, confidence, is interpreted according to Earle (2010a), who presents confidence as calculative and ability based, relating to past experiences with respect to Bhattacharya et al. (1998) stating that trust and certainty, ergo confidence, are mutually exclusive. The second calculative aspect, sound criticism, has been synthesized based on the concept of distrust, or creative mistrust (e.g. Hale, 2000). Based on the mutual exclusivity of trust and confidence, the author of this study takes the liberty of creating a new expression, establishing a similar mutual exclusivity on the side of non-trust and non-confidence, calling it sound criticism, as opposed to confidence, due to its


constructive, clarification oriented and trusting behaviour. This is further substantiated by Reasons (1997) term of chronic unease, a concept of openness and criticism. Details of those aspects are described as 4) CONFIDENCE, cognitive dimension, mutually supporting and building trust (N.B: confidence is only related to individual behaviour, not financial or economical considerations, e.g. investor confidence) 5) SOUND CRITICISM, constructive promoter of confidence and trust based on the motivation to clarify uncertainties that would block reasonable action if left unclarified. In order to produce a slim and well receivable questionnaire, well researched aspects from literature, such as trust motivators, have been taken for granted and as such been sorted out, leaving room to investigate on lesser explored correlations. An example would be the impact of leadership on the perception of integrity as proven by Conchie et al. (2011), or Burns and Flin (2004). Three additional questions have been inserted regarding the effect of financial rewarding of safety reporting. This was provoked by one finding from the interviews (see chapter 4.1) where financial reward for cooperative behaviour was introuced instead of a pay raise. As this is highly disputed, additional questions have been added out of interest and potential potential future relevance. Based on the same motivation, an additional question on the direct impact of financial incentive on trust was inserted. A copy of the questionnaire, as administered in the Internet, can be accessed in Appendix 4



Weaving data together

Table 4.2.b Data requirements table, bold indicates the number of the selected correlation for the questionnaire.

Weaving the inputs together as described in the previous chapters allowed for identifying the variables of the questionnaaire, as shown in the subsequent chapter. The numberings do not correspond due to insertion of additional questions, as described in chapter 4.2.a.



Survey Questions

Table 4.2.c Survey Question Composition no Relation Question 1 walk the talk => sound If people are doing what they say, I feel more motivated criticism to say what I think and ask critical questions. (I) 2 authenticity => You can trust somebody who talks in the same way with confidence employees and who behaves in the same way at work and outside. (II) 3 leadership consistency A person who does not change his mood and treats => ability everyone with the same respect is a very competent person. (III) 4 management A person who declares in public what his policies and commitment => ability intentions are is a professionally competent person. (IV)
5 6 7 8 9 10 management commitment => integrity management commitment => confidence value congruence => sound criticism explicit culture => confidence low ambiguity => ability low ambiguity => sound criticism procedural safety => sound criticism management proximity => sound criticism financial incentive => benevolence financial incentive => confidence financial incentive => trust financial incentive => sound criticism fairness => sound criticism Reliability Question, opening question Duplicate key question (based on strict general requirement) Duplicate key question (based on strict general requirement) Persons who publicly write what they intend to do and how they will do it, are definitely honest and respectable. (V) A person who publicly declares his policies and intentions will treat me fairly and correctly if I make a mistake. (VI) It would be easy for me to criticise or ask uncomfortable questions if I knew that this question would also be important to management. (VII) If the company shows that they trust all employees, there is no risk to report a mistake. (VIII) Superiors who frequently inform employees about current issues and changes of the company are competent and knowledgeable. (IX) If employees are frequently informed about current issues and changes, the company is also interested if something needs to be improved or changed at the workplace. (X) If the reports for the SMS are always treated the same way it is also o.k. to ask critical questions. (XI) When people from management are in the hangar or workshop it is a signal that critical questions are welcome. (XII) The level of salary is an indication of how well people are treated in the company. (XIII) If there would be a financial reward for reporting my own mistakes this would be a sign that there is no risk to report. (XIV) If there would be a financial reward for reporting I believe it could be easier to report uncomfortable facts. (XV) It would be much easier to criticise or ask uncomfortable questions if there would be a reward for reporting. (XVI) If everybody is treated with the same fairness, nobody is afraid to say I think something is wrong. (XVII) How good could you apply some of the SMS training in practice? (XVIII) Everybody is responsible to report if they notice a hazard. (XIX) Safety Reporting is only relevant for Certifying Staff. (XX)

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20


4.3 4.3.a


Three organisations participated in the survey, two mid-size of about 60 staff as well as the small organisation with about 20 staff which already had been interviewed. Out of 133 potential questionnaire respondents contacted via e-mail, 33 questionnaires were returned on time but only 30 of them were completed fully. This suggests a response rate of about 23%. Due to demographics and the typical image of masculine feminine job distribution experienced in this industry in Switzerland, no female hangar and shop staff have been included in the questionnaire. Although age was not of concern, a visit to the premises showed most staff to be within a 28 to 40 years of age, (matching the authors personal experience in this field), translating into approximately 7 to 18 years of professional experience, past the 4 year apprenticeship. Typically, 70% of the staff addressed are holders of at least a basic maintenance engineer licence, proving additional professional maturity.



Table 4.3.b contains the combined and grouped mean average results from a 5 category Likert scale with 1 being totally agree, 3 equalling neutral and 5 totally disagree. Through grouping of rankings additional relations can be detected and similar ranking combinations have been grouped to a combined average. Most recognisable, clear preference for promoters on cognitive dimensions has been given by respondents. Sound criticism and confidence are promoted strongest by: value congruence, walk the talk, fairness, explicit culture, procedural safety, authenticity, and low ambiguity. Management commitment has been rated to be of lower impact on promoting trust, with a narrow preference of integrity over ability as promoter. The impact on ability as antecedent of trust by low ambiguity and leadership consistency is moderate in relation to sound criticism and confidence, although management proximity as a trigger for sound criticism shows close to neutral, the lowest score in that grouping. All financial incentives score neutral to slightly negative, except for trust with a clear negative score.


Table 4.3.b Combined Ranking of Findings table sound criticism



Combined Ranking of Findings table (1= strongly agree, 5= strongly disagree, 3=neutral) value congruence walk the talk fairness explicit culture procedural safety authenticity low ambiguity management commitment management commitment management commitment low ambiguity leadership consistency management proximity financial incentive financial incentive financial incentive financial incentive



1.73 1.91 2.0 2.09 2.13 2.21 2.24 2.30 2.33 2.42 2.47 2.61 2.73 2.94 3.0 3.09 3.23 3.06 2.60 2.35 2.04

In the open section for free worded input one respondent commented I believe money alone wouldnt do it. Important is that criticism generates results. Otherwise people become frustrated and would not bother to pass on improvements (translated by the author)2 Detailed scores are listed in Appendix 2

Ich glaube mit Geld allein ist es nicht getan. Wichtig ist, dass Einwnde auch Wirkung zeigen. Ansonsten werden die Leute frustriert und bemhen sich nicht Verbesserungen weiter zu geben.



Combined Mean Average


With regard to the key question, the manageability of trust in HROs, interviews and survey supported the following picture: the congruence between managements actions and their explicit intentions, tagged walk the talk, has by far provoked the strongest positive response. Cognitive based key themes were generally rated more positively than affective based, such as integrity, benevolence, or ability. If this is due to respondents uncertainty about soft factors, selection or ambiguity of the questions asked, or different factors, would remain open to further research and clarification. While this survey could be criticised for lacking broader coverage and dispersion of key themes and validated robustness, its general bias seems to produce a snapshot of the factors that influence trust in HROs at a time of significant organisational change due to the recency of new requirements, applicable to the whole industry. It may be speculated if uncertainty and urgency to live up to the new expectations has produced some sense of anxiety in the industry. Due to lack of experience or time for a well managed change programme, ready-made concepts about leadership, building trust or commitment, even if empirically unproven and untested, are well received and implemented as they are suggested and described by ICAO and regulators. The sudden implementation of such ready made concepts within an existing organisational framework could additionally distort the snapshot taken from organisations. A longitudinal study could be employed to clarify that issue. Low ambiguity and explicit culture, along with consistent leadership, management commitment and authenticity have also scored positively within this group. This could be taken as an indication that leadership qualities of explicit nature (e.g. explicit culture, transparency) as well as of implicit quality (e.g. authenticity, commitment, consistent leadership) support cognitive trusting behaviour, such as being confident and exercising sound criticism. Drawing a clear line between trust as affective and confidence/sound criticism as cognitive based, these findings should support the suggestion that a wider array of intraorganisational behaviour can be triggered through antecedents, borrowing this model from earlier research by Knoll et al. (2010), Earle (2010a) and others. On the other hand those findings also suggest that confidence and sound criticism possess a focus on action or intention, and are not only backward-looking on past experience, but are expected to motivate actions based on present perceptions. This


would partly contradict Earles (2010a) model of trust bearing an intentional focus as opposed to confidence building on past experience. In addition to that, the concept of trust asymmetry, as presented by Conchie and Burns (2008), is interpreted in this context as supporting the view that trust relies, at least in part, on past experiences or information about negative past events. Consequently, it should be suggested that cognitive attitudes and behaviour, in addition to trusting can be supported through antecedents alike, thus promote the stepping out of the comfort zone and risk asking critical questions being confident that this would match the organisational system of values, fairness and transparency. This idea is reflected in Diagram 5 below. Aspects of good communication have also scored positively. As reflected in literature by Hudson (2001) and Earle (2010a), synonymising low ambiguity with high transparency. These facets coincide with Kramers (2009) concept of increased performance and employee satisfaction through clearly communicated and established systems of shared values. Presumably, a skilful blending of shared value systems with the human propensity to trust (Kramer, 2009, Schoorman et al., 2007, Earle, 2010a), could evoke higher employee identification with the organisation and its goals. The lower scores of management proximity and leadership consistency raise additional questions on the balance between affective and cognitive bias of technical staff in general. One of the interviewed Safety Managers remarked people wanted to see actions, not words. This might be extended to a preference for seeing actions by management instead of them walking around. In analogy, management proximity could be perceived as additional control, depending on general perceptions in the organisation, open for additional clarification. The strongest negative biases resulted from financially incentivised promoters of trustworthiness. One of the organisations interviewed successfully runs a system of materially rewarding cooperation and personally assumed responsibility, which could be interpreted as one way to share and identify with the organisations value system. Retrospectively, this debated aspect has not been awarded enough in the survey and should be re-investigated if greater detail of insights would be required. One of the interviewed managers presented a particular understanding of the importance of team composition to prevent from complacency and internal political runaways. Although these aspects are reflected in literature, the importance of balancing instability and openness to foster critical behaviour and questioning needs to


be reflected by the readiness and confidence of employees to report and ask difficult and challenging questions. Future research could provide for beneficial clarification and insights, particularly about the way how this openness would affect peer-to-peer relations in HROs.



The aspect of benevolence has been scarcely covered within this study, only through one survey question. Schoorman et al. (1996) stated that benevolence is the weakest influential antecedent of trust within organisations, but also the one aspect taking the longest time to build judgements on. For that reason benevolence has not been not been assessed widely in this study. Corresponding to Burns and Flin (2004), it is suggested that ability is the only concept that can be largely assessed against comparative, measurable standards, such as skills, competencies, and characteristics that enable a party to have influence within some specific domain. Ability, therefore, would be the only of the three concepts, besides integrity and benevolence, that can be shaped, obtained or influenced in a transactional or transitive way, e.g. by training, as opposed to integrity which can only be influenced in a transformational or intransitive way. Intransitive aspects would be those that largely rely on individuals valuation and perception of the importance of actions or values, in relation to their own personal value and belief system. The attempt to clarify the extent to which ability could be regarded as a purely affective or cognitive concept in relation to HROs would exceed this study, but this should be noted for future activities. The model in diagram 5 should provoke rethinking and/or reframing the conventional modelling of ability, benevolence and integrity being antecedents of trust. The clarification of those concepts of trust and distrust, or mistrust on one side, and the concepts of confidence and criticism on the other side is considered necessary. On the next page, the model of Conchie and Donald (2008) on safety specific functional and dysfunctional trust and distrust has been amended as a result of this study. It highlights the importance to integrate the cognitive-based dimensions of confidence and sound criticism. The coexistence between trust and distrust (Conchie et al., 2008; Burns et al., 2006; Lewicki, et al., 1998, in Schoorman, et al. 2007) has been visualised as the coexistence between confidence and sound criticism. The latter is also thought to coexist with distrust.


Also highlighted were the affective and cognitive bases of these concepts, with respect to their manageability and transitivity. Dotted lines indicate and connect simultaneously possible attitudes. Mayer, et al. (1995) antecedents of trust are still considered valid, but supposed to work as antecedents for confidence and trust alike. The logical counterpart of confidence is regarded as sound criticism a constructive form of questioning the status quo. Trust and confidence are considered mutually exclusive, as Bhattacharya et al. (1998) stated (see chapter 2) trust cannot exist in an environment of certainty; if it did, it would do so trivially. The other concepts of distrust and sound criticism, an adoption from Hales (2000) creative mistrust can coexist with either trust or confidence and is considered part of an open and trustful safety culture.


Safety Behaviours

Dysfunctional - Reduced personal responsibility for safety - Undetected mistakes Confidence (low-high) Functional - Open communication - Reduced risk perception (physical/psychological) Safety Specific Action Bias Functional - Monitoring/checking - High level of maintenance/ safe equipment COGNITIVE BASED manageable, transitive


AFFECTIVE BASED not manageable, intransitive

Trust (low-high)

Safety-Specific Trust Relationships

(The original model is accesible in appendix 3 for reference)

Diagram 5.2. Adapted model from Conchie and Donald (2008)

Dysfunctional - Sabotage/ Revenge - Errors through reduced attention to work tasks dotted lines and round shapes added

Distrust (low-high)

Sound Criticism (low-high)

dotted lines = coexistence

Safety performance outcomes omitted



Another suggestion for further research addresses the trustors trade off between potential gain and the potential loss. Trust would, logically, only be exerted if potential gain risk

By doing so, individuals still expose themselves to vulnerability and risk as trust is by definition only exerted in the absence of certainty. Thus trusting behaviour is a potentially - cooperative act of balancing personal risk versus a greater goal or benefit. A similar aspect of trading off by deliberation in an uncertain situation outside the full control of an actor is found in game theory, e.g. the prisoners dilemma, where purely calculative consideration is overridden by perceptions and beliefs of another partys preference, outside of the actors sphere of influence. Profound research might include cooperative, asymmetric, altruistic and discrete aspects of game theory. This could be amended by asking which peer-to-peer effects would be associated with or influencing the act of reporting safety relevant issues of oneself, or a peer? Such relationship between game theory and trusting behaviour has neither been found in literature on HROs nor on trust in general, although the themes strongly provoke parallel associations. Another open question relates to the power of deliberation in exerting trusting behaviour: Do people generally apply a more cognitive or a more affective approach in power deliberation, what stimulates certain preferences? Better knowledge on these aspects could potentially contribute to the way in which intraorganisational trust among peers and between hierarchies could be shaped, strengthened, in order to lubricate organisational processes and team building in HROs. The balance between personal trust and authoritative, respectively hierarchical relations within organisations, a prominent and prominently publicly discussed topic provokes another question: How far does the lowered risk perception resulting from long-term personal relations within an organisation influence the risk perceptions in other work-related risks? Is there a positive correlation in such way that risk-taking attitudes will be encouraged and sound criticism, chronic unease (Reason, 1997) falls short? Such research would


have to deal with issues of complacency, control, establishing differentiation between affective and cognitive forms of trust, fostering an open culture. Potentially, sound criticism could be seen as building the bridge between personal trust and intraorganisational confidence, a seemingly perfect and healthy couple. Many recommendations regarding the change of organisational culture towards a learning, safe, or just culture by implementing or changing certain elements thereof have been drawn from existing models by ICAO, IAEA and other transnational agencies, frequently employing Edgard Scheins model of organisational culture. A critical view needs to be shed on the transferability of such models and findings between various industries dealing with different operating environments, urgencies, and, most importantly, subjects. In aircraft maintenance decisions are rarely taken under unavoidable time pressure, mostly standardised and clearly configured objects are dealt with, unlike e.g. in paramedics or fire fighting, when operating under high uncertainty and extreme urgency. This is different in aviation, emergencies set aside. Robust procedural frameworks are prescribed and surveyed by regulators. This is justified by the nature of operations and, partially, high division and diversification of safety critical labour, operational pressure and shiftwork in aircraft maintenance. The major focus in this area should therefore be directed at managements responsibility and their interactions with operators on the shop floor across hierarchical boundaries. Scarcity of literature dealing with the transferability of findings between industries indicates the need for further research in this area.



In the process of this research, some constraints and limitations have surfaced, partly on the consistency and validity of this study, and partly with respect to the transferability of findings to other settings. 1. Mandatory SMSs are young in the present form in aviation, many paradigms at once have recently shifted and are not settled yet. Greater acceptance within the entire workforce will increase over time, allowing for greater long-term validity, predictability and reliability of data through longitudinal studies. 2. For the depth of research, this study has been restricted to a very narrow band of national culture and therefore results do not claim greater validity beyond qualitative indication. Studies beyond German speaking Switzerland would certainly add greater breadth and predictability of results. 50

3. This study has also been limited to a small part of the population in question, broader sampling in greater numbers, strata, and demographic spread should add to the quality of data. 4. A big question remains about the transferability of past studies onto other HighReliability industries due to extreme variations in operational, environmental and organisational settings.




Practical implications of this study on the manageability of trust within HROs can be summarised as below. First a word of caution: This piece of research has been compiled respecting latest research in literature, established and acknowledged assumptions in organisational research over the last few decades and been based on a small sample from Swiss Aircraft Maintenance Organisations. However, the results of this qualitative study could inform the improvement and development of trust at a time when the full operation of SMS by EASA requirements is just three months old. The major underlining notion is: trust cannot be engineered into an organisation, trust is personal. You cannot buy or delegate it. The good news: managers can strongly influence and build factors that do support the growth of trust with a caveat: trust and safety go well together only when balanced by a culture of open communication, accepting, even inviting criticism and questioning of the status quo (see Reason, 1997; Burns and Flin, 2004; Schoorman et al., 2007). Again and again, until nobody is afraid to speak up or stop an operation, because management encourages, or even rewards such behaviour. What can be managed, engineered, is confidence and a framework that allows for sound criticism and rewards inputs. This will, on the longer run, support but not by itself build trust. So, here is what you can do: 1. Be aware of how and what you promise and do Actions speak more than a thousand words, results even more. Everyone wants to see results of what has been promised.3 Hudsons (2001) walk the talk dimensions scored among the highest in the questionnaire and has been mentioned in the interviews. Walk the talk means producing results as well as conform to the role model that is implied. Caution not to demand for or promise unrealistic things; people feel cheated if it is not practised what is preached. [1 j), 2 b)] 4

The bold print is what would be published to managers, the regular font is to back and explain the recommendations. 4 the numbers, like [1j)] refer to the open coded interview results in the appendix


2. Be clear about your communication You communicate with words, symbols, gestures, mimic. Everyone will notice discrepancies between explicitly and implicitly communicated messages. Even if not consciously noted, it will create distrust. Employees need clear signals from leadership: values and purpose. The congruence of implicit and explicit communication was stressed out in responses. Opinion is that presence alone is a form of communication, along with the role function of management. Establishing a common language is part of organisational culture and supports good flow and understanding of messages. Procedural safety includes clarity about specific purpose. [1b) 2g) 2f) 3a) 3f)] Value congruence, low ambiguity and explicit culture scored very high in the survey. 3. Be Fair and firm Decisions need to be transparent, consistent and well-grounded, procedural safety and justice warrant for integrity, benevolence is the weakest contributor to trust. Procedural safety and fairness scored in the highest group in the survey. Just culture and fairness go hand in hand and all employees, not only shop staff need to be subject to the same standards and regulations. Teams need to be composed not based on measures of personal preferences, but based on competence and optimal friction and wariness. ([2e) 2j) 3i)] 4. Be clear about values, give everyone a chance to identify with the goals and values of your company. Communicate and - most importantly - live those values in every moment of your life. By establishing a sense of community and communalities, shared goals and values and communicating those, everyone has a chance to participate. In this case there is little ambiguity about what is going on and where it is going to. This congruence ensures people do not feel left out, partly supported by proximity and good communication. [1b) 1c) 2b) 2c)] Associated questionnaire items scored high to moderately positive: value congruence, low ambiguity, explicit culture. 5. Know your employees, take the time to listen, hear, understand and respond, everyone has a sense of affection for those people that are close. Management proximity did not score very high but still positive. Interviewees, however, stressed these factors very often. Proximity and presence replaces many


other institutional forms of communication, gives clearer pictures of situations. [2c) 3a) 3b) 3c) 3d) 3j)] 6. Put only the most capable persons for the job in their positions, perceived inability can seriously harm your performance and motivation. Commitment, low ambiguity and authenticity scored positively. No one can be the best in his/her subject, particularly in a management role. But it is necessary to be guided by persons who can admit to mistakes, limits of knowledge and capabilities and radiate understanding. [ 1a) 2j) 3i)] 7. You can lubricate your governance and safety performance by taking good care in composing teams, being happy about criticism, instability, and conflicts. People only do that because they engage and trust! Trust can fill gaps between cognitive understanding and role insecurity. Consistency, fairness and frequent feedback, including the willingness to receive personal feedback, support reciprocal trust. [1l) 2j) 3e)] Apart from fairness, management commitment evokes the perception of integrity, confidence and ability, referring to the survey. 8. Know the difference between trust and confidence In personal relations: In functional safety oriented relations: trust or verify! trust and verify!

In a catchy wording, this diction is picked up, referring to mutual exclusivity of affective trust and confidence, not to be confused with trusting behaviour that includes the readiness to accept criticism. Survey results suggest strong relations to both, confidence and sound criticism, which are not mutually exclusive. The need to differentiate between affective and cognitive aspects of trust is reflected in the interviews by the qualified fairness model, i.e. reward for cooperative behaviour and by a general awareness of interpersonal synergies, e.g. in team composition. [ 1a) 1c) 3i)] You might want to sit with your employees when they have training, it will not hurt and give you and your staff a sense of sharing, sitting in the same boat and having something in common striving for safety! [ 2d) 2e) 2k)]




The manageability of trust as pivotal supporting element of a Safety Management System has been investigated, based on previous academic and empirical studies that confirm this role and importance in increasing safety performance in HROs. A mixed method approach was applied to identify key themes by interviewing practitioners, subsequently deducting key variables to inform a survey questionnaire that was administered with German speaking Swiss aircraft maintenance staff. The resulting findings confirm the notion that the formation and improvement of trust can be enhanced indirectly by supporting certain antecedents, attributes and organisational factors. On the other side, trust cannot be managed, or engineered into an organisation directly due to its multifaceted nature comprising of affective and cognitive antecedents. The parallel existence of trust and mistrust has triggered the question about confidence and criticism, which are perceived in literature as opposites, or related aspects. Negating the synonymous existence of trust and confidence, all other concepts are seen as potentially coexistent, playing different roles within HROs. The existing model of Conchie and Donald has been enhanced to accommodate for a differentiated view of affective and cognitive motivators of trusting behaviour. It was also found that clarification is needed on the nature of intention and action versus relational aspects and judgements about the present and the past orientation of trust and confidence motivation. The recognized and confirmed need to support the aspects of trust, distrust, confidence and sound criticism as valuable contributors to safety-oriented behaviour, led to recommending eight actionable suggestions for management responding to the research question. These suggestions include the need for a clear differentiation between trust and confidence, role model awareness, governance, leadership, transparency, critical questioning and fairness, to name most of those recommendations. This study was carried out within a fast changing environment and based on a very small sample from a closely defined population. Further longitudinal research in a less constrained setting could ensure higher data reliability and investigate specifically on the transferability of findings between different geographic, industrial and professional


environments, peer-to-peer relations in safety reporting and correlations between game theory and trust in deliberation processes.


These reflections have been noted during the process per chapter and are compiled here. Defining and defending the title Defining the research subject that spurs my professional and private interest took me several weeks time in going through the literature, re-defining, going back, like in an upwards spiral title has been a very interesting and challenging process of crucial importance to a successful and rewarding experience. Saunders et al (2009) has proven as invaluable tool in that. After several weeks of literature research, I found a niche of interest that still needed research. Planning the project The most robust approach seemed to use a GANTT chart for my project planning and integration into my laptop calendar to support planning of self-employed work within the schedule. Introduction A good and precise introduction to the topic seems absolutely necessary due to specifics of the project in order to ensure that the reader is able understand the specifics of the topic without getting bored. Repeatedly rereading, I tried to put myself in someone elses shoes to achieve the necessary distance. The length seems appropriate to the complexity of the topic. Literature review How I could achieve enough breadth and depth in literature without missing important contributions? Without proper research I would not have been able to read and write critically. The right approach seemed by defining and approaching the topic in circles, widening or narrowing the area or subtopic. Creating mindmaps proved to be an extraordinary support in sorting through and building relations from the vast amount of literature. A dedicated tool for organising my electronic library turned out to be another great feature, search and organising functionalities are invaluable. The literature review proved to be the biggest and most difficult part for me, requiring focus and discipline in managing, organising and summarising. I chose the most recent literature first, referring to publications older than 10 years only if of essential significance or validity often indicated through frequency of occurrence in referenced


literature. Methodology At first glance this chapter seemed to be more technical but I recognized that it required deeper understanding of the philosophical aspects of research. The clear distinction between deductive and inductive approach seemed difficult, as I perceive this distinction as fluent, particularly as I am constantly changing my point of view, dealing with different subjective realities. This presented some difficulties for me to define my approach, in which my supervisors support proved very helpful. Building the questionnaire certain questions arose: what kind of evidence would support the investigation? How to employ some criterion related validity in order to ensure greater validity of results? Would that exceed the scope of a master thesis? Interviews After some telephone conversations with colleagues about my difficulty in finding the topic, asking for inputs and challenging of my ideas, a better idea of how to construct and substantiate my interview questions surfaced. I intended to ask open questions, so I knew that I would be biased already when preparing the interview questions. Listening and note-taking during the interviews and later transcribing have certainly added more bias to the results. As former entrepreneur in the aviation industry and also as former member of the executive board of an aircraft manufacturer I possess hands-on and managerial experience. This helped me to switch views in order to look at the topic from different angles. Despite my interest in procedural fairness only the reader will be able to determine if I have put too much bias into this project. After the interviews, from which I only took notes without having to transcribe and translate, let alone fiddle with a recorder, open-coding of the interviews proved to be the most appropriate method for me to extract the data preparing them for the next stage in the process. Questionnaire After a very successful Data Management class, I have been confident to tackle this issue well. Soon I had to admit that real-life constraints provided more risks and hindrances than anticipated. Some of the addressed companies did not respond in time, some used lame excuses. Finally a restaurant voucher was raffled among participants and boosted responses. Disappointingly few, 30 complete sets of data out of a potential 133, were returned. It remains speculative to me if the questionnaire was too long, too complicated, or simply unattractive, to be considered for future studies. Another learning point for future projects would be better discrimination between variables through a different construction of the questionnaire and the underlying basic


assumptions. This would yield a sharper image of respondents bias and for a better control of the outcomes validity. Results Satisfied with the results of the interviews, I think I fell somewhat short in building the questionnaire. Although my bias towards the less explored factors of confidence and sound criticism can be justified, I did not employ enough parameters to allow for comparative analysis between those less and the better explored factors, such as benevolence, integrity and ability in order to add validity to the outcome. There is a lot of potential improvement and an area for future research, or solidification of my research. I now need to work with what I have produced, within my self-produced constraints and draw from interviews and literature for what I missed in the survey. Discussion A highly respected chapter that needs good preparation and knowledge of literature. I was really looking forward to express my criticism and present some of my own ideas. It was a very rewarding experience when reading through literature after completion of the survey with my findings in mind: many correlations have clarified and were instantly related to discussable items and recommendations. Establishing a mind-map for washing-up supported this clarification. Recommendations As the wash-up mindmap has helped me enormously in sorting and structuring my findings into sensible relationships, the same it did for extracting recommendations. Trying to put myself in the shoes of a time-stressed manager was not as difficult for me as stepping back and changing the intellectual perspective as it turned out in a discussion with my supervisor. Consequently, I had to revise the description about how I concluded recommendations from findings. To accommodate for the time-stressed, I tried to formulate the recommendations punchier than might seem the norm in theses, but I enjoyed formulating those in the thought-provoking way I like some HBR articles are written. This section, in my understanding is about: so, what is this whole study about? and whats it good for me and my company?, a very helpful question, to be used more in the future as it helped me to explain a few issues in way that seemed more logical to me. Conclusion Apart from enhanced methodological competence and subject matter knowledge, I am


highly motivated to reach out further, by presenting this topic at specific industry conferences and employing that knowledge in my next field of development as trainer and consultant. A key experience for me is the added value and satisfaction by first creating and then diving into a topic of high personal interest that, at first glance, seemed to be very complex, already occupied by research, and difficult. This opaqueness has just cleared up during the journey. Such journeys can only be undertaken with a certain degree of confidence. During the iterative process of browsing and following up through literature, summarizing, correlating and reiterating the findings, a familiarity with theory has emerged never experienced before and specific methodological and resource management preferences solidified. Beyond growth in competency on the subject, on methodologies, in reflective attitude, a new self-esteem emerged. I am most thankful that I could, owing to my great hard-working and supporting wife, shift some of my worktime to this study instead creating material income. This allowed me to cultivate two very important aspects that I have come to recognize over the last three years triggered by this MBA course: First: reflection is as important as action and production and second: cherish serendipity! I already find myself applying these tools for my next steps in business development and I am confident itll work out.


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