Trust processes in the eye of the storm! How do we cope with salient vulnerability

Room 417 Muirhead Tower
Monday 14 November 2016 (16:00-17:30)

Speaker: Professor Rosalind Searle (Coventry University)

This paper explores different responses to threatening situations. The definition of trust emphasizes the willingness to be vulnerable, yet little attention has been given to how people emotionally react to, and cope with, as well as cognitively make sense of such vulnerability. Here we use card-sort and thinking-aloud technique to explore 57 employees currently working in five austerity-constrained and change-riven public sector organizations. Based on a cluster analysis, we identify seven distinct configurations of employee reactions to vulnerability when experiencing threatening change and ongoing uncertainty. We explore the different sense-making processes in these groups to reveal how individuals cope with and make sense of such vulnerability.


Rosalind Searle (PhD. MBA. BSc. (hons) C.Psychol) is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Psychology at Coventry University and co-founder of the University’s research centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. She is a chartered Occupational Psychologist and expert on trust in organizations, focusing on how systems and relationship can be used to help create, sustain and repair stakeholders trust. As an active researchers and author of a number of journal articles, chapters, books, and special reports, she focuses on the topics of organizational trust, especially HR processes, and the use of controls. Ros works with organisations, trade unions and regulators to make employers more aware of trust and why it matters.

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