Organisational trust: A case application in the air transport sector

David Warnock-Smith, Derek Cameron, John O'Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In management, it is important to know what the likely feedback effects of employee-employer relationship outcomes might be on levels of ongoing employee trust. This paper looks to apply this important question to a case application of the air transport sector by testing the impact of recent changes in a case sample of air transport companies using a modified aggregate trust model. The findings of this study suggest that occupational group (flight crew/non-flight crew), airline type (Full Service Airline - FSA, Low Cost Carrier - LCC, Charter), and level of seniority (management/non-management level) all have an important bearing on levels of trust in the employee-employer relationship. Pre-existing labour agreements and legacy arrangements with senior and certain occupational groups were found to have a more damaging effect on the trust relationship than anything else. An underlying level of resentment and defensiveness has developed due to historical labour agreements being changed and have been observed most notably among FSAs, flight-crew and middle-management staff. The mediating role of the unions in the employee-employer trust relationship was found to be insignificant among the sampled air transport organisations mainly due to the perceived weakness among the sampled employees of unions to make any meaningful interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalTransport Policy
Early online date9 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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