Trust and distrust in companies

By Roland Reitter and Bernard Ramanantsoa, Economica, January 2012

What is trust? Why is it a strategic asset for companies now more than ever? How is trust built? How is it evaluated?

Bernard Ramanantsoa and Roland Reitter, whose research has focused on the concept of corporate identity for the past several years, have just published their most recent work, which provides fundamental insights into stakeholder commitment.

An analytical framework for understanding trust

Bernard Ramanantsoa, HEC operations director, and Roland Reitter, professor of strategy at HEC Paris, address the many questions surrounding trust at the initiative of the Trust Management Institute, a think tank that has been focusing on the concept of trust within companies for many years. The book aims to reconsider the fundamentals of trust through a multi-disciplinary lens, which includes approaching the issue from an Organizational Behavior perspective.

The contribution of the social sciences

The authors draw on the work of sociologist Georg Simmel (trust as “suspension of rational doubt”) and philosopher Paul Ricoeur (the difficult role of leaders in the construction of a narrative identity, the route they must follow to receive recognition, and how promises factor into trust), to explore the fundamental role of leaders in building trust.

The book’s purpose

The main purpose of the book is to open up avenues for the rational use of trust within organizations, enabling stakeholders to ask the right questions before taking action. The authors explicate ten ideas in order to help companies understand what factors into the subtle art of trust.