Sailing across the North Sea: The development of trust in a short-term high intensity environment

Kotryna Fraser, Hugh Richards, Allison Peter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interpersonal trust among team members is an important phenomenon influencing working relationships and performance outcomes. However, there is a lack of empirical studies investigating the development of trust with respect to behavioural and environmental factors in a group of strangers. This exploratory, mixed method study investigated the development of wo-dimensional interpersonal trust (affective and cognitive) and team cohesion
in a newly formed temporary team of novice adults during a seven-day sail training programme. A descriptive longitudinal case study approach was adopted in the current study. Seven crew members completed the standardised psychometric questionnaires and were interviewed during the voyage. Results suggested that the development of trust occurs over three phases; 1) initial perception of shared identity, 2) early trust and 3) two dimensional
trust comprising cognitive and affective dimensions. Distinct antecedents for the development of trust at each stage were identified and the importance of the competence-oriented subcomponent of cognitive trust within this challenging environmental context was highlighted. Exploratory interpretation suggests some overlap in the antecedents of interpersonal trust and team cohesion. However, further longitudinal research must examine this relationship
and establish corroborative evidence for the model of trust. This research can impact on practitioners leading programmes to better understand how trust can develop over time, and offers a pragmatic approach to investigations in real world contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-84
Number of pages14
JournalActa Universitatis Carolinae Kinanthropologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2016


  • klíčová slova
  • trust
  • temporary team
  • team cohesion
  • sail training
  • outdoor education

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