Swift trust formation in multi-national disaster project management teams

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Project Management, 2019, 37 (8), pp. 979 - 988
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd, APM and IPMA In recent years there has been growing interest in how project management theory can both inform and be informed by disaster response and recovery projects. Addressing the lack of empirical research into how trust forms within such projects, this exploratory study mobilises swift trust theory to investigate the process of trust formation within a multinational disaster project management team formed in response to tropical cyclone Winston in Fiji in 2016. In-depth content analysis of qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with disaster management team members, non-participant observation of the disaster project management teams during the disaster response and analysis of disaster management documentation appear to support the predictions of swift trust theory in relation to the importance of reputation, role and interdependence in building swift trust. However, theoretical predictions around the importance of categorical assumptions, confirmation of assumptions and the leadership role of the contractor did not appear to be supported by our data. It is concluded that while swift trust theory can potentially provide valuable practical and theoretical insights into trust formation in multinational disaster project management teams, it may need to be adapted to more accurately model trust formation in a disaster project management context.
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