Trust in global companies

The way to achieve trust varies from culture to culture.

  • In some cultures, people trust one another because they know that no feedback will be given which leads to loss of face.
  • In some cultures, trust is augmented after an “argument” because then each side knows that the other truly cares.
  • In some cultures, “following the process” builds trust whist in other, process can only be followed once trust is established.

Because of this cultural divide around trust, I suggest less use of the word “trust”. There needs to be a list of behaviours around which people rally, not a word that means something very different to everyone on the block.

For example, we could start with:

  • The appropriate people are consulted before a decision is made.
  • We assume positive intent.
  • People assist one another above and beyond formal roles and responsibilities
  • Communication styles factor in both face needs as well as need for directness.

One may claim, trust means different things to different people, but we all need to show trust! I claim that the word creates undue complexity, as if “fast” and “eat” were the same word.

Continued use of the term “trust”, as is, serves the interests of the power elite in OD, which promulgates this ambiguous term as a platform for force feeding the western interpretation of trust.

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5 thoughts on “Trust in global companies

  1. I see nothing in your list of examples that is inconsistent with my “western” definition of trust. As for “face” I think that is essentially a matter of image, persona, self-esteem and the like and those often get short shrift in the West. But I could be wrong.

    • So Fred, here is an example.
      We are in a group meeting and as my boss, you ask me for my revenue estimation.
      I add 35% so you “look good” and thus, you will trust me more.
      Is this ok?

  2. Do you see the rule of Law (expansive Labor Laws) as a way to build some form of trust? Is your model (consultation and collaboration based) not closer to some form of cooperative than many models currently in place?

    • 1) yes.
      2) i do not think so because these were some examples; i think that obedience/rule me in many cultures also builds trust although I did not add it.

  3. Isnt’t this interesting! I have always held trust as a process not as a perception of believablility or a relational state. Form my North American perspective trust develops from a series of rellatioal steps:
    1: Straight talk
    2: Making commitments
    3: Follow-through on my commitments.
    4: Reliability from consistent follow-through.
    Now, I am seeing that even those steps do not apply to some cultures. Hmmmm! What do I now trust that trust is?

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