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Trust in high-reliability organizations

Schöbel, Markus

The present article aims to highlight the effects of trust on safety performance in high-reliability organizations (HROs) like nuclear power plants, chemical plants or hospital emergency departments. The author claims that not only beneficial but also detrimental effects have to be considered in the analysis of trust within these socio-technical systems. Potential safety outcomes of trusting behavior are discussed in the light of two types of interaction underlying task management in HROs: trust in human interactions vs. trust in human—system interaction. Trust is further specified according to the constraints and requirements that may interfere with the beneficial role of trusting behavior. In particular, three distinct types of trust beliefs moderating the effect of trust on safety performance are addressed: beliefs based on shared values and norms, institution-based beliefs, and beliefs based on system reliability. Finally, the author highlights organizational factors that emerge as crucial for the development and maintenance of safe work settings in which the beneficial aspects of trust are brought to bear.
Published in: Social science information, 10.1177/0539018409102416, SAGE Publications
  • Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
  • This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.