Who do you Trust?

Who do you trust?

Trust  in our organisations is at an all time low. In their article “Who do you trust?” Searle Hope-Hailey, and Dietz argue that this loss of trust has serious consequences for both organisations, and more importantly our society at a whole. Trust in organisations is vital, and it can be a key economic advantage for firms enhancing their effectiveness, efficiency and performance. It has also been shown as highly significant in the fostering of desirable work-related behaviors. Employees who have high trust in the organisations they work; stay for longer; put in more effort and work more co-operatively. However, employees with low or no trust; reduce the effectiveness of their work; engage in counterproductive behaviors such as obstruction or seeking revenge; or simply decide to leave.

Dimensions of Trustworthiness

Central to trust- and its repair- at whatever levels are individuals’ perceptions of the trustworthiness of another party, whether this is an organization, leader or those in line management. Early studies have revealed four distinct components to trustworthiness. These dimensions inform whether and how far leaders are trusted or not. The behaviors inform whether and how far leaders are trusted, or not.

Ability – the extent to which this party is believed to have the skills or competence.

Benevolence– how much they are regarded as caring genuinely about his or her wellbeing

Integrity – focuses on the others adherence to moral principles and high standards of behaviors

Predictability – the perceived consistency of the other’s behavior over time.


Some key findings reflected from Searle et als., CIPD 2012 research report

  • Trust was important in employees decisions about; whether to recommend their employer to others; their levels of job satisfaction; contributor to whether employees left their employer
  • Respondents in the public sector had smaller levels of trust than the private and voluntary sector
  • The actions aand behaviours of those at the top have real significance for trust in the organisation as a whole
  • Those at the top are more likely to report higher levels of organisational trust
  • Trust and organisational size are related (high trust is easier to obtain in smaller organisations
  • Direct line managers will have a crucial role in shaping employees’ experiences of the organisation
  • Open communication is crucial in building and maintaining trust
  • Trust is not a one-way concern. Employees trust is generated and sustained when they also feel trusted by their managers



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DavittCorporatePartners – Organisational Psychologists and Experts in Helping Organisations Repair Organisational Trust