The Trust and Workplace Relations Group considers the critical impact of trust at an individual, team, organisational, and societal level. Our work is driven by a desire to provide excellent theoretical and empirical work with impact. The key research question for our group is: Does trust matter? Our interests coalesce around four main elements which make trust a salient concern:
Trust and HR in high stake contexts: Trust is signalled through systems. The ways in which policies and procedures are selected and then implemented makes good leadership and governance key factors. Similarly, efficient performance and teamwork cannot be achieved without reciprocal trust. Ultimately, no relationship can be maintained in the absence of trust but, it can be a challenge to build, retain, and even more difficult to repair. We analyse the dynamics and different levels of trust within teams, departments and across organisations to understand how systems and control processes can enhance the creation and longevity of trust for a variety of stakeholders.
Trust and shared values: The affective side of trust is a key, but often neglected element in relationships between: organisational members, leaders and followers; organisations; networks; or communities. Our research highlights the specific roles that shared values, understanding and emotions can play when individuals are working together. Shared values may reduce conflicts, enhance compliant behaviour, reduce feelings of vulnerability; they facilitate the development of trust, and involve the uncovering of specific challenges such as working together with people of different ethnicities, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, or generations.
Expectations and vulnerability: These components are the basis of trust. We trust when we have positive expectations towards someone or something and make ourselves vulnerable. We are therefore interested in understanding the minutia of trust and distrust, in order to reveal their dynamics and associated challenges.
Using trust for productive relationships in workplaces and organisations: We want to show communities, organisations and wider society why trust matters. Thus we are concerned with the applied side of our research. We work closely with a variety of organisations and political actors to help people understand how trust matters, and what they can do to overcome trust issues, such as broken trust or distrust. From our work, we contend that control enhances trust, and is important in relationships between individuals and organisations. We have derived a number of useful business and policy results that identify how to overcome trust issues by providing a framework of control and regulation that enables flexibility and autonomy.