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Aeronautics, Undergraduate Studies

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In this qualitative, phenomenological study, Maslow‘s Eupsychian theory was used as the guiding framework for exploring the perceptions of trust and the behavioral change potential of subordinates (includes frontline supervisors) and managers (excludes frontline supervisors) within selected aviation maintenance organizations in Arizona. The problem addressed in the study was the growing concern that managers willfully mistreated subordinates, which led to decreased trust, motivation, and productivity. A combined representative sample of 10 maintenance technicians and frontline supervisors was purposively selected from the production lines of a large commercial aviation repair and overhaul station located in Arizona. An additional combined representative sample of 10 maintenance technicians and frontline supervisors was selected from a United States military aircraft maintenance unit located in Arizona. The use of open-ended questions during informal interviews, along with casual observation of interviewees, enabled the extraction of the rich, textual data that described the experiences from the perspective of the study participants. The significance of this study is the generation of awareness on the part of subordinates and frontline supervisors relative to their perceptions of trust within the respective aviation maintenance organizations studied. The resultant data are for use by managers within aviation maintenance organizations, and are presented as a means of self-awareness and for improving relationships between subordinates and managers. In this study, the findings indicate that transitional change exists within both sample organizations, the perceptions regarding relationships indicate more trust than distrust between subordinates and managers, and manager behaviors influence subordinate behaviors. In this study, it was revealed that families were the single-most important motivational factor for the participants of the study, which included maintenance technicians and frontline supervisors. The recommendations for managers within aviation maintenance organizations are to minimize negative behaviors and nurture positive relationships with subordinates through sincere gratitude. Managers should be cognizant of an excessive short-term focus (chart and number chasing). The aviation maintenance management literature would be enhanced with an exploration of how subordinates‘ personalities influenced their perceptions of managers. A follow-on quantitative study with a larger sample size of participants at other aviation maintenance organizations would also add to the existing literature.


Northcentral University

Additional Information

Dr. Martin was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this dissertation was published.