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Trust Repair between a Military Organization and a Local Population: A Pilot Study

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Technical memorandum

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This study was designed to support the Applied Research Project ARP entitled, JIMP Essentials in the Public Domain Implications for the Tactical Commander, developed at Defence Research and Development Canada DRDC - Toronto. The objective of this project is to examine the Public aspect of the Joint, Interagency, Multinational, Public JIMP paradigm, which is a relatively new focus for many militaries and poses the greatest challenge in terms of interfacing with non-military players moreover, the costs of losing the hearts and minds of a local population has significant implications for mission success and for the security of the soldiers deployed in counterinsurgency contexts. The present study represents a pilot study that will support a subsequent larger study examining trust violations and trust repair between military organizations and the local population that the military is assisting. Recent research in the organizational psychology literature suggests that, in some cases e.g., for an integrity violation, denial is a more effective trust repair mechanism than is an apology, whereas in other cases e.g., for a competence violation, an apology is a more effective trust repair mechanism than denial. This study examined the applicability of these findings to complex international military engagements using a scenario-based experimental paradigm. Initial trust was compared to trust post violation and was found to be higher than trust post violation, providing evidence that initial trust in the military was strong enough to be violated when a trust violation occurred. Qualitative analyses conducted on participants responses to determine what they would have liked the military to have done to increase their trust.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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