Can you talk about trust without talking about media?


Earlier the week I attended a lecture by Liechtenstein management professor Antoinette Weibel on trust in organisations.
Her topics:
There are three kinds of trust to deal with –

  • situation based trust: can be bought or borrowed from PR-agents, rating agencies or via badges, certificates.
    A special thing about situation based trust is, that it is based on egoism – you can trust people, if you rely on the fact that they will do something that helps them, “but treating others like egoists may initiate egoistic behaviour in the first place.“ So you have to lie/pretend that you are not an egoist, to find a decent way to deal with people.
  • characteristics based trust: this about being true. It’s the intentions that matter; you not only have to behave like a trustworthy person, but you also have to convince your partners, that you are truly trustworthy. Then it pays twice: “A trustworthy person ist more likely to trust and to be trusted.“
  • identification based trust: thats the strongest form of trust – and the one that offers the most potential for fraud. “Identification based trust saves most strongly on control- and coordination-costs – but Madoff was possible because of identification based trust.“

Weibels strategies to build trust:

  • candor
  • building communities instead of companies
  • abandonment of short-terms cash incentives – they create fraud, egoism and lazyness

All of these measures include a certain level of control.

What Weibel did not mention at all, are media. Thats amazing – I seriously wonder, how you can even think about an idealistic term like trust without considering communication issues.

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Can you talk about trust without talking about media?

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