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

PhD Thesis


Chatzi, Anna. 2019. The role of communication in aviation maintenance and its relation to trust. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/ZNAQ-VP76
Title

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

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorChatzi, Anna
SupervisorBates, Paul
Kille, Tarryn
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages292
Year2019
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/ZNAQ-VP76
Abstract

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.

Keywordscommunication satisfaction, trust, aviation maintenance, safety, human factors, diagnosis model
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350901. Air transportation and freight services
520104. Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Commerce
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q5xwv/the-role-of-communication-in-aviation-maintenance-and-its-relation-to-trust

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Related outputs

The unexplored link between communication and trust in aviation maintenance practice
Chatzi, Anna, Martin, Wayne, Bates, Paul and Murray, Patrick. 2019. "The unexplored link between communication and trust in aviation maintenance practice." Aerospace. 6 (6). https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6060066
Exploring the Association between Communication Satisfaction and Trust in the Aviation Maintenance Environment An International Study
Chatzi, Anna V., Bates Paul R. and Martin, Wayne L.. 2020. "Exploring the Association between Communication Satisfaction and Trust in the Aviation Maintenance Environment An International Study." International Journal of Aerospace Psychology. 30 (3-4), pp. 190-214. https://doi.org/10.1080/24721840.2020.1801347