The role of communication in aviation maintenance and its relation to trust

Chatzi, Anna (2019) The role of communication in aviation maintenance and its relation to trust. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Aviation researchers have only recently started to study factors not individually, but rather by combining their effects. A gap has been identified following a comprehensive review of the literature on trust and the combined traits of communication and trust in aviation maintenance. This research examines two preconditions of human error in aviation maintenance, communication and trust, and explores the way these are linked. Trust within different aspects of maintenance practice (interpersonal trust, trust towards technology, initial levels of trust) is presented and analysed, as well as examined as a prerequisite of effective communication. The aim of this study is to address the identified gap by investigating the existence of communication and trust in real life aviation maintenance occurrences. A Communication and Trust Question Set, comprising of questionnaires used in other industries, was devised to measure the relationship of communication and trust among aviation maintenance employees belonging to various groups. A thorough content analysis was performed in representative accident and incident investigation reports to identify the co-existence of communication and trust as preconditions in aviation maintenance occurrences. The results indicated that both communication and trust had a contribution to all maintenance occurrences and were prevalent issues in the reports examined. In addition, the content analysis method was applied to the aviation maintenance human factors training curriculum and material (coursebooks) used within the European Aviation Safety Agency regulatory framework. This analysis revealed the indirect existence of trust in the curriculum and the coursebooks, without direct mention to these factors. Based on indications that, in concert with trust, communication can also influence the detection of failures during aviation maintenance practice, an industry survey was conducted. This survey was conducted on 271 aviation maintenance professionals with the use of the Communication and Trust Question Set, intending to explore the association between three factors, communication satisfaction, interpersonal trust and trust towards maintenance software used in aviation maintenance companies. Overall, communication satisfaction was found to have a stronger association with interpersonal trust than with software trust. Thorough explanation and discussion on the significant differences among the different participants' groups is provided. An interesting finding is that aviation maintenance professionals have relatively high levels of trust and communication satisfaction at the start of their current employment. This finding is consistent with the initial trust levels theory, examined in the past for other industries. A novel Conceptual Investigation Process has been developed on the basis of the study's methodology, with the objective to predict possible maintenance practice deviations in a causal relationship with communication and trust. The blending of the Conceptual Investigation Process with the multifunctional Communication and Trust Question Set tool has led to the conception of the Diagnosis of Communication and Trust in Aviation Maintenance (DiCTAM) model. The DiCTAM model is implemented through a hypothetical case study of possible aviation maintenance deviations. These results indicate the capability of the model to predict hypothetical maintenance deviations by using data collected from the target group's perceptions. Moreover, as examined, DiCTAM can be embedded within three out of four components of Safety Management Systems (SMS), safety risk management, safety assurance and safety promotion.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Supervisors: Bates, Paul; Kille, Tarryn
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2020 06:06
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 02:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: communication satisfaction, trust, aviation maintenance, safety, human factors, diagnosis model
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1507 Transportation and Freight Services > 150701 Air Transportation and Freight Services
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
Fields of Research (2020): 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3509 Transportation, logistics and supply chains > 350901 Air transportation and freight services
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520104 Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/ZNAQ-VP76

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