A lecture this week on ‘Of the People for the People: Rebuilding the Trust Economy’, likened trust in the economy to the trust formed in human relationships and discussed the different forms of trust. Professor Kenneth Costa talked about the ‘human factor’ in industry trust. Trust is a concept that is hard to earn and easy to lose. Humans work on the assumption that we give and receive trust, however, there is ‘asymmetry of trust’, where we expect to gain it but are not so eager to offer it back (i.e. the recent UK government expense scandal). There is also the notion of ‘false trust’, where trustworthy behaviour is just for show. And the concept of the ‘free rider’, where one person shirks their duties and takes advantage of the group’s trust. Read Professor Costa’s 3 steps to rebuilding trust here. </span>
Professor Costa concluded with 3 steps to rebuilding trust. These steps can be applied to business and humans alike.
1. The need to learn important lessons from what has happened.
2. The need to be willing to admit wrong-doing and serious breaches in trust.
3. The need to offer and embrace forgiveness, drawing the line to obtain closure. It is not just about being negative and regretful, but taking positive action towards changes in attitude.
According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2009, 62% of people in the world trust businesses less than they did a year ago.