Trust Restoration in International Military Missions


  1. Gill, R.
  2. Thompson, M.M.
  3. Febbraro, A.R.
  4. Barnes, M.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);York Univ, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Establishing and maintaining trust between military organizations and the local population being assisted is considered to be integral to the success of international military operations. A lack of trust in military organizations on the part of the indigenous population may strain the relationship between these two groups, a situation which may, in turn, jeopardize mission success and undermine the military’s ability to provide support and assistance to the indigenous population, as well as increase a volatile security situation on the ground. Recent research in the organizational psychology literature has found that in some cases (e.g., an integrity-based trust violation), denial of responsibility is a more effective trust repair mechanism (vs. apology), whereas in other cases (e.g., a competence-based trust violation), an apology is a more effective trust repair mechanism (vs. denial). Still other research has found that an apology is more effective than denial in restoring image and cooperation. This study examined the applicability of these findings to complex international military engagements using a scenario-based experimental paradigm. Results demonstrated that the best trust-related outcomes occur in the absence of trust violations. However, in contrast to previous research, where trust violations did occur, it appears that the most effective trust repair strategy is an apology rather than a denial, although it is important to note that the means for trust measures

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Trust restoration, military, indigenous population
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2010-151 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2010
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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