Trust, Ethics and Governance Alliance

Building trust through responsible leadership, management and policy reform

The importance of and challenges to trust, ethics and effective governance is high on the global agenda. Against the backdrop of national inquiries into institutional trust failures, geo-political uncertainties stemming from the invasion of Ukraine, the climate crisis, digital disruption, volatility and uncertainty places unprecedented challenges on managing trust, ethics and governance issues.

UQ Business School’s Trust, Ethics and Governance Alliance (TEGA) brings together academic experts and industry leaders to help address these complex and rapidly evolving challenges. By adopting an interdisciplinary research approach, robust insights are developed to inform public debate and promote effective evidence-based management practices and policy reform.

Thought leadership

Our researchers are internationally recognised for their thought leadership in the areas of:

  • building, preserving and restoring trust
  • reputation and image management
  • ethical leadership and decision making
  • corporate regulation, governance and corruption control 
  • Responsible and trusted intelligent technologies and data

Our thought leadership brings new perspectives that advance understanding of trust building and challenge traditional governance approaches whilst encouraging a research-informed debate.

Read TEGA insights and news

Trust building and repair 

Trust is a fundamental building block of any relationship, whether that be with customers, employees, investors, suppliers and partners, regulators or broader communities and society. Despite its central importance, it is a concept that is often misunderstood. Researchers investigate this multifaceted concept across a broad range of contexts.

Key areas of research expertise:

  • Building, preserving and restoring trust and reputation
  • Responding to and recovering from trust breaches and scandal
  • Cultivating resilience to trust breaches and designing trustworthy organisations
  • Understanding and measuring stakeholder trust.

Ethics, corporate regulation and culture

Ethical misconduct and corruption are as true today as it has ever been and combating these deviant behaviours require taking steps to ensure corporations have effective governance and regulation, as well as cultures that support ethical conduct. Researchers confront these hard issues from a diversity of perspectives.

Key areas of research expertise:

  • Examining decision-making near the ethical edge, where hard regulations meet soft cultural controls 
  • Understanding conceptions of corruption, integrity and ethical risk in organisations and societies
  • Assessing the effectiveness of corporate regulation, governance and corruption control from diverse disciplinary, legal and ethical perspectives.

Responsible stewardship of technology in the digital era

Advances in technology and artificial intelligence, combined with the unprecedented creation and capture of personal data, raises a number of ethical, trust and governance issues and challenges. Researchers tackle these complex and rapidly evolving issues around the collection, use and governance of data, trust in emerging technologies, and responsible technology use and transformation in society.

Key areas of research expertise:

  • Responsible stewardship and trust of intelligent technologies and data into society
  • Using personal data for business analysis, including HR data analytics
  • Accountable use of intelligent algorithms 
  • Explainability of machine learning algorithms.


Professor Nicole Gillespie

 Professor Nicole Gillespie 
 Professor in Management & KPMG Chair in Trust



Professor Thomas Maak Professor Thomas Maak
 Professorial Chair in Ethics



Meet the Business School TEGA team 




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Trust building and repair

  • A.I. bias undermines trust in leaders
    Revealing bias against A.I.; A.I. may be “intelligent” but it cannot be wise — leaders who rely on A.I. suffer decrement in perceived trustworthiness via undermined perceptions of their ability to be wise. 
    Researchers: Justin P. Brienza and Bernard McKenna
  • After the fall: Understanding the role of identification in organisational trust failure and repair in member organisations 
    Following a trust breach in a member’s organisation, this project explores organisational identification and its influence on trust repair effects and trust trajectories.
    Researchers: Nicole Gillespie, Shannon Colville, Alex McDade and Niamh Daly
  • In AI we trust? Understanding employee trust in AI-enabled HRM
    Trust is an important sensemaking mechanism through which employees decide whether to accept or reject AI use; however, what enhances employee trust in AI-enabled HR is not well understood. We test a model of six theoretically grounded antecedents of trust and explore how subpopulations of employees may differ in how they view trust and its antecedents, using both variable- and person-centered analytical approaches. Our study provides novel insights into how employees balance the risks and benefits of AI use in HR, how institutional mechanisms influence trust through different channels and how familiarity mechanisms can compensate for or complement institutional mechanisms.
    Researchers: Steve Lockey, Nicole Gillespie, Caitlin Curtis, Javad Pool and Martin Edwar
  • Charitable triad: How donors, beneficiaries and fundraisers influence giving. 
    This project aims to test a new model of charitable giving to examine how donors, beneficiaries and fundraisers together influence donor decisions.
    Researcher: Cassandra Chapman
  • Understanding the impact of hybrid work on employee wellbeing and outcome
    This project seeks to understand the impact of hybrid work and time in office on employee outcomes. A range of outcomes are explored including wellbeing and engagement, collaboration and innovation, trust, inclusion and psychological safety, and learning and career development. 
    Researchers: Nicole Gillespie, Caroline Knight, Tabi Ward, Bichen Guan, Stacey Parker and Steve Locke
    Funding: Industry funding
  • Dynamics of forgiveness and self-forgiveness 
    This project aims to study the dynamics between forgiveness and self-forgiveness following hurt and wrongdoing in interpersonal relationships. This project seeks to break new ground, studying dyadic-level dynamics between both parties: interdependencies between forgiveness and self-forgiveness in a dialogical process of moral repair. 
    Researcher: Tyler Okimoto
    Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant
  • The impact of tourism-induced disruptions on host community
    The project delves into the multifaceted social and environmental impacts of tourist misbehabiour, exploring how the effects spill over to various aspects of the tourism ecosystem.
    Researchers: Monica Chien and Ravi Pappu
  • Mapping the psychology of accent-based discrimination
    Accentism is commonplace, but our understanding of why people discriminate against certain accents is limited. This project will enable the most robust test to date of what causes accent bias in schools and workplaces. Experiments will also examine the conditions under which accent bias is most pronounced and why its effects are particularly strong for women.
    Researchers: Matthew Hornsey, Kana Imuta and Tyler Okimoto
    Funding: ARC Discovery Project
  • Impact of perceptions of leader wisdom buffer trust breeches
    Investigating the role of perceptions of leaders’ wisdom in followership (e.g., loyalty; willingness to trust and buffering effect of trust breaches; voting; commitment to organisations). 
    Researchers: Justin P. Brienza and Bernard McKenna
  • Mindful leadership and team functioning 
    This project aims to develop a conception of and measure for a new construct termed mindful leadership. This measure will be validated and the implications of mindful leadership will be tested for leader, employee and team functioning in a large randomised controlled trial of online mindfulness training delivered to employees at a Canadian healthcare organisation.
    Researcher: Adam Kay
    Funding: BEL Connect Grant
  • Perceptions of low self-control reduce trust and cooperation
    Investigating how team-mates’ perceptions of other members’ self-control (health, task persistence, etc) can affect cooperation in team projects, through damaged trust.
    Researcher: Justin P. Brienza
  • The bright side of organisational stigma for socially deviant firms
    Whether and to what extent operating in a stigmatised industry protects firms from the adverse market consequences of greenwashing, in terms of consumer trust and downstream sales. Results to date suggest that stigmatised firms are protected from the adverse consequences of greenwashing.
    Researcher: Adam Kay
  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium tourism businesses in Japan
    The project seeks to understand the extent of voluntary and involuntary changes made in small and medium tourism and hospitality businesses in Japan, as well as their impact on front-line employees. Specifically, it evaluates the relationship among leadership, trust and employee wellbeing in the context of ryokans, or traditional Japanese inns.  
    Researcher: Monica Chien
  • The impact of attentional resource depletion and negative emotions on ethical leadership and trust
    An experimental study examining how attentional resource depletion and negative emotions leads to unethical leadership and low trust during a team problem-solving task.
    Researcher: Michael Collins
  • The impact of anger, impulsivity and work on trust and ethical leadership
    A quantitative study of Australian leaders examining how anger and impulsivity leads to unethical leadership, low trust and unsatisfying work.
    Researcher: Michael Collins
  • Trust insights: Understanding practices supporting trustworthy organisations
    This project examines the organisational practices that support and facilitate trustworthy organisational conduct and examines their influence on stakeholder trust.
    Researchers: Nicole Gillespie and Steve Lockey
  • Crisis leadership and trust repair: Think crisis-think female?
    The purpose of this study is to examine how effectively organisational leaders, in this case CEOs, respond during the initial stages of a real-world crisis originating via deliberate actions from within their organisations, i.e., what Coombs and Holladay (1996) categorise as an “internal–intentional” organisational crisis. The crises we examine include allegations of deceptive conduct by a major Australian airline and a technology failure by a large Australian health fund. 
    Researchers: Michael Collins, Justin Brienza and Rebecca Langdon

Ethics, Corporate Regulation and Culture

  • 'Corporate culture' is the 'new black': Its possibilities and limits as a regulatory tool for corporations and financial institutions
    The role of ‘culture’ in corporations and the extent to which corporate culture can be used as a regulatory tool.
    Researcher: Vicky Comino
  • An investigation into Loot boxes and microtransactions in online gaming: The new gambling frontier
    Researchers: Sarah Jane Kelly and Shaun Star
  • Ethical intelligence: Helping good people avoid bad decisions
    How disinhibition leads to ethical blind spots and unethical behaviour.
    Researcher: Michael Collins
  • Ethics and professionalism podcast, Conexus Financial
    Expert commentary on the implications for financial planners of the introduction of the new.
    Researcher: Michael Collins
  • Leading to serve: A community-centred approach to leadership in the Queensland Police Service
    A review of the Queensland Police Service leadership capabilities from recruit to senior executive levels using qualitative and quantitative methods. The findings from this review will inform the development of ethical and pro-social leadership at the individual and organisational level. 
    Researchers: Michael Collins and Bernard McKenna
    Funding: Industry Funding QPS
  • Mindfulness and third-party reactions to injustice
    The role of mindfulness in third-party reactions to witnessing injustice in the world. In contrast to voluminous research showing that mindfulness tempers emotional reactions to self-relevant mistreatment, this research demonstrates that mindfulness amplifies moral outrage in third-party witnesses of injustice, making mindful individuals more likely to punish those who perpetrate injustice against others.
    Researcher: Adam Kay
  • Promoting women in leadership: Diversity on boards in Australia and India 
    This project is supported by the Australian Alumni Grant Scheme, Awarded by the Australian Consulate, Chennai, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Partners include University of Queensland, O.P. Jindal Global University, Australia India Business Council, Institute for Australia India Engagement.
    Researcher: Shaun Star
  • Supportive workplace program
    The projects involve UniSA and University of Queensland researchers working together with staff from industry partners to identify where and how to change work systems and practices. The ultimate goal is to create a more supportive and respectful workplace for everyone at Woolworths.
    Researcher: Yigiong Li 
  • The dark side of mindfulness
    The potential negative effects of mindfulness training given to individuals with dark personality traits like psychopathy, narcissism and machiavellianism. Research is ongoing, but results to date suggest that organisations should be careful about offering mindfulness training to employees with such personality traits.
    Researcher: Adam Kay
  • The true colour of "omotenashi": Impact of COVID-19 on immigrant workers in Japan's tourism and hospitality sectors
    Japan's immigrant workers in tourism and hospitality are facing increasing discrimination and hateful remarks due to COVID-19. This project investigates how the pandemic induced prejudice against non-Japanese workers impact on these individuals' quality of life and job satisfaction.
    Researcher: Monica Chien
  • The conspiracy worldview and beliefs about wind farms
    This project examines how the conspiracist worldview shapes attitudes and beliefs about wind farms. It also examines strategies for communicating about alernative energy projects in trust-sensitive environments.
    Researchers: Matthew Hornsey and Kai Sassenberg
  • The role of moral incongruence in the influence of ethical leadership dimensions on employees’ organisational citizenship behaviours
    This project contributes to a better understanding of the impact of the different ethical leadership behaviours on pro-environmental behaviours on employees and how the moral incongruence on relevance and judgement between leaders and subordinates affects this relationship.
    Researchers: Mireia Guix, Andrea Patrucco, Liliana Rivera and Iliana Paez
  • The shadow of the hotel franchising business model: modern slavery risks
    This project examines how the franchising business model challenges the ability of hotel groups to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. While franchising enhances financial performance, it increases the risks on human rights in labour and procurement decisions, leading to lower social performance. The project explores agency problems and outcome and proposes behaviour-based mechanisms.
    Researchers: Mireia Guix and Maryam Lotf

Responsible Stewardship of Technology in the Digital Era

  • Access to justice: Technology, innovation and sustainability 
    Researcher: Francesca Bartlett
    Funding source: Conducted in collaboration with legal centre, Law Right, and UQ Business School
  • Achieving trustworthy artificial intelligence in the public sector  
    Using a case study design, we developed an empirical understanding of the trust challenges and tensions public sector agencies face when integrating AI into public sector service delivery and the capabilities and practices that help address these challenges and secure stakeholder trust. We collected and analysed data from over 80 in-depth interviews, supplemented with project documentation, drawn from eight use cases of AI-enabled public services. We are co-developing a practical guide for industry to provide guidance on how to secure trust in public sector AI use and the capabilities required to produce trustworthy AI and adhere to Australia’s ethical AI principles. Scholarly submissions are underway.
    Researchers: Nicole Gillespie, Natalie Smith, Javad Pool, Steve Lockey, Caitlin Curtis and Tapani Rinta-Kahila
    Funding: KPMG, BEL Connect and UQ RSP
  • Artificial intelligence: An approach to organisational deployment of inscrutable artificial intelligence systems
    An approach for implementing inscrutable (i.e., nonexplainable) artificial intelligence (AI) such as neural networks in an accountable and safe manner in organisational settings.
    Researcher: Tapani Rinta-Kahila 
  • Community attitude to law enforcement data
    In collaboration with the Queensland Police Service, this project explores how to increase trust that people place in the use of their data. The research will investigate how people view the use of their personal data and how organisations can gain social licence to expand their use of data and technology.
    Researcher: Marta Indulska 
  • Developing data-driven organisations: An agent-based modelling approach
    Researcher: Ida Asadi Someh
  • Empowering users to protect their personal privacy on social media 
    A bold approach to finally overcome the paradoxical inertia of people who care about their privacy but do not protect it.
    Researcher:  Marten Risius 
  • Enhancing fairness in algorithmic decision-making through perspective taking
    How AI explanations and evaluation metrics can be framed and presented to prompt decision-makers to adopt different stakeholder perspectives and ultimately help achieve fairness. 
    Researcher:  Ida Asadi Someh
  • Explanations: A new enterprise capability for artificial intelligence   
    The challenges that opaque algorithms pose to organisations and aims to introduce AI explainability as a new enterprise capability for organisations that are investing in AI. AI explanations are explored from multiple stakeholder perspectives. 
    Researcher:  Ida Asadi Someh
  • Public trust in artificial intelligence: Global insights
    This program of research produces timely global insights on public trust and attitudes towards the use of Artificial Intelligence, including AI use in the workplace, and expectations for the governance and management of AI. Three industry research reports and multiple scholarly papers have been published, and another survey is in planning.
    Nicole Gillespie, Steve Lockey and Caitlin Curtis
    Funding: Industry grant, UQ RSP
  • The effect of algorithm explanations on managerial decision-making
    Researcher: Ida Asadi Someh
    Funding: National Australia Bank (NAB)
  • Roadmap options for melanoma screening in Australia
    This program of research seeks to understand trust and acceptance of an AI-enabled precision targeted melanoma screening approach with consumers and healthcare stakeholders to inform clinical and policy recommendations for a national screening program that is trustworthy, equitable in its reach and cost-effective.
    Researhcers: Brad Partridge, Nicole Gillespie, Monika Janda and Peter Soyer
    Funding: NHMRC Synergy Grant
  • Understanding and trusting algorithms in data-driven governments 
    Researchers: Ida Asadi Someh and Nicole Gillespie
    Funding: Systems, Applications & Products (SAP)
  • Trust in artificial intelligence: A critical systematic review
    This critical systematic review examines how AI design and implementation characteristics influence trust. We reveal a critical oversight in a majority of existing research: the presumption that more trust in AI is better. We urge a reorientation toward better trust calibration, which aligns trust with the trustworthiness of AI systems and the environments in which they operate.
    Researchers: Steve Lockey, Nicole Gillespie, Jake Morrill and Javad Pool
  • Digital transformation: A systematic review
    This systematic literature review takes stock of current undersatnding of how the implementation of digital technologies in the workplace influences employee trust.
    Researchers: Nicole Gillespie, Alexandria Macdade, Jake Morrill and Shannon Colvill
  • Measuring and managing cyber risk
    Exploring organisational practices in measuring and managing cyber risk and the possibility of quantifying it.
    Researchers: Sergeja Slapnicar, Micheal Axelsen and Marc Eulerich
  • Duality of cyber risk assessment
    The project explores different approaches to cyber risk assessment between cyber security experts and IT auditors.
    Researchers: Sergeja Slapnicar, Tina Vuko, Matej Drascek and Marko Cular
  • Financially quantifying cyber risk for stress test in an insurance company
    Exploring how to approach to cyber risk assessment for stress test in the insurance company and how to integrate information from various defence lines to facilitate quantification of cyber risk.
    Researchers: Sergeja Slapnicar, Uros Zust and Chaitanya Joshi
  • Maintaining human expertise in an AI-driven world
    This project investigates how leveraging artificial intelligence shapes workers' skills and how organisations can maximise human potential by striking a balance between relying on automation and maintaining workers' skills.
    Researcher: Tapani Rinta-Kahila