What is trust and trustworthiness in business?
|Lead Researcher(s) - Group 1||Institution|
|Professor David Vines
Dr Natalie Gold
King’s College London
University of Leicester School of Business
Group 1 poses the hypothesis that weak trust, of the form used in the economic analysis of the firm, needs to be supplemented with forms of strong trust, which can be supported by appropriately designed governance structures. The appropriate form of trust, and therefore governance structure, will be related to the type of activity being undertaken, and hence to the firm’s purpose and the purpose of the levels within the firm. Trust will also be impacted by the relationship between these levels. The group will survey the relevant corporate governance literature in order to establish principles about how to connect activities and their purposes, forms of trust, and forms of governance. The project will also lead to new avenues of research in ‘corporate anthropology’: investigating in detail the current governance structures that actually exist in different kinds of financial firms, and examining the possibilities for change.
|Lead Researcher(s) - Group 2
|Professor Nikolas Kirby
Professor Jonathan Wolff
Professor Karthik Ramanna
|Blavatnik School of Government|
Group 2 will look to clarify the concept of ‘trust’ and its cognates (‘distrust’, ‘trustworthiness’, ‘untrustworthiness’) as they apply in the context of corporations and at the impact that trust or distrust in corporations has on trust and distrust in society more generally. The research will interrogate the relationship between the various degrees of social power that a corporation may have, the consequent vulnerability of various stakeholders, and thus the obligations (if any) of such a corporation to make and keep commitments. The research will provide a survey of the different current (and historical) corporate, regulatory and social structures which result in different trust relations between agents. It will highlight causal relations that raise important normative questions. For example, if under certain circumstances employee empowerment increases trust and decreases vulnerability, should the state encourage such forms of employee empowerment? It will also identify key gaps in the literature, and thus key empirical questions that need to be answered by further research.