State of Trust

Trust: a positive expectation that another will not—through words, actions, or decisions—act opportunistically.


“The risk involved in situations of trust derives from uncertainty regarding the future actions of others. Trust is warranted when an agent expects the benefit from making him/herself vulnerable to another agent (whose behavior is not under his/her control) to be positive.” (1)

Key dimensions of trust:


  1. Intent: the willingness to protect and save face for another person; openness

Trust that the person has good intentions towards you and that they will not undermine you. 

They have your back.

  1. Integrity: honesty, truthfulness

Driven by moral character. 

The person will always operate according to their principles. 


  1. Capability: an individual’s technical and interpersonal knowledge and skills

Trust that the person has the skill, wherewithal, and motivation to get the job done.

The person makes things happen. 

  1. Results: an individual’s reliability, predictability, and good judgment in handling situations

Prediction of what other people will do.

Reliability in how situations will occur.

Trust is composed of two factors, character and competence.  Character is representative of who the person is and their integrity, and competence is representative of their skills set and ability to complete a task.


Looking at Erickson’s developmental process, trust is the foundational component of what we need to survive in the world.  It allows us to execute both personal and business matters with relative ease and without issues around selfishness.

“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence.


Breakdowns in Trusting Relationships leads to:

breakdowns in trust

Breaches in psychological contracts, which are informal agreements between an employee and employer that include mutual beliefs, perceptions, and obligations, show similar effects on employee morale, satisfaction, and organizational commitment. (3)

Where do we go from here:

The digital age has brought about new mechanisms of communication through the adoption of modern technologies and our ability to evaluate the trustability of the individual on the other end has become unclear in multiple facets of life.

By assessing both the character and competence, we better understand what aspects of trust are not being fully met from both parties, employees and managers.  By breaking down these components, we can then assess and strategize how to create better, more trusting relationships within organizations.

“A lack of trust makes employees untrustworthy which does not bode well for the future of virtuality in organizations. If we are to enjoy the efficiencies and other benefits of the virtual organization, we will have to rediscover how to run organizations based more on trust than on control.”

—Charles Handy



  1. Furlong, D. (1996) The Conceptualization of ‘Trust’ in Economic Thought, IDS Working Paper 35, Brighton: IDS.
  2. Hansen, C., Chen, Y., Boyd, B., Blake, J., Tucker, P., & Levavasseur, E. (2015). White Paper on Decoding the Complexity of Trust Industry Perspectives(Publication). Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum.
  3. Mccarthy, Vikkie & Truhon, Stephen. (2016). A Primer on Organizational Trust: How trust influences organizational effectiveness and efficiency, and how leaders can build employee-employer relationships based on authentic trust. 10.13140/RG.2.1.1785.5768.

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One response to “State of Trust”

  1. Trust is very important… on that note, I forgot to remove myself from here… so I am doing that now. Be well.


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