Practical insights for compliance and ethics professionals and commentary on the intersection of compliance and culture.

Selected lectures on honesty and trust

Honesty in life is the foundation for integrity in business. People with a strong personal sense of correctness will be loath to discard their internal moral register easily just because they are in the workplace. Those who respect the truth, however challenging standing by that may become, and wish to be rewarded for it with being seen as trustworthy, are responsible stewards for organizational and individual values. The impact of a corporate culture that venerates honesty and trust is far-reaching into decision-making, business strategy, sustainability, and co-working.

  • The Growing Inequality of Trust (Richard Edelman) – One of the great challenges to establishing and maintaining trust in society today is the “trust disparity” – the difference between the portion of the public that is credibly informed and the population in general. This is a growing and far-reaching challenge to giving and getting trust, when people cannot agree on a view of the facts or are so predisposed toward mistrust. The contextual motivation for good corporate citizens to model integrity and impact societal change for the good is very strong, especially as trust is on the decline. CEOs and other business leaders should answer this call and leverage their honesty and unwavering commitment to tell the truth and disclaim misleading or false information.


  • What’s trust got to do with it? (David Horsager) – Lacking credibility will cost you. Trusted leaders and organizations are more successful, agile, and prepared for long-term survival. Establishing trust be the best motivation and the most effective marketing. The positive impact on business and life of trust should be underestimated. Trusting someone is a choice with benefits and consequences, and supporting trustworthy people to succeed can make a real change in our communities and organizations.


  • The behaviour of trust in the workplace (Jacqueline Oliveira) – Intercultural communication is one of the great challenges of the modern workplace. Global teams and international leaders have to reach across the norms of their home culture to find a way to relate to each other that can be understood by everyone but still meaningful and productive. Trust is a universal value which can create that connection for everyone to build upon.


  • Whom Can We Trust? (Richard Edelman, David Leonhardt, Tom Wilson) – Public perceptions of trust are on a sustained decline all over the world. What can individuals and their organizations do about it? Are we just doomed to a faithless future? If we can’t trust any of our institutions, how can we trust the people who work at them or, eventually, each other? The potential for moral decline in our private lives is precipitated by the deteriorating credibility of the organizations that dominate our news and the public attention. Personal leadership that is values-based and emphasizes the truth and trustworthiness over all other character traits is one possible path forward. If society starts to reward and appreciate people for their honesty and their eagerness to earn trust, then the public measures of success and expectations on businesses will follow in kind.


  • The Value of Trust (Dan Ariely) – How does trust impact decision-making and individuals’ perceptions of their own interests? The value is likely significant, especially insofar as many decisions are made and promises are kept or broken for practical, emotional, or even irrational reasons. Trust in themselves as well as in others does more to determine how people actually behave than their intentions.


Check back next week for the follow-up to this collection: selected lectures on dishonesty and mistrust.

One Response to Selected lectures on honesty and trust

Leave a Reply