Trust and Ethics in Workplace
Tracey Rockett, Ph.D.
Neeley School of Business
Texas Christian University
Why does culture matter?
culture may be
one of its
strongest assets or
culture is an
Culture is often
which have a
rare and hard to
may enjoy a
▫ Organizational Culture
A system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs
that show people what is appropriate and inappropriate
▫ Two Important Components of Building Culture
Organizations with a strong culture:
• Enhance mutual trust and cooperation.
• Have less conflict and more efficient decision-
• Facilitate open communication.
• Create a strong sense of identification.
• Create a shared understanding.
• Have greater performance and less turnover.
*Culture is both internal and external*
• Starts with recruitment and selection of people
• Then we socialize newcomers
• We continue socialization process throughout
life of organization
▫ Promote employees who live the values and use
them as role models for new employees
Model of Organizational Culture
• We socialize in order to:
▫ Make sure that everyone is working toward the
“correct” goals of the organization
▫ Build commitment to the organization
▫ Build culture
• Socialization is the process of creating uniform
values and norms
▫ Values and Norms: Standards for conduct for
behaviors that are considered important by
most group members
Trust, ethics, having fun, great customer service….
How One Becomes Socialized
• Examples of key models
• Examples of peers
• Explicit instructions
• Rewards and punishments for efforts
• Ways to strengthen the socialization process:
▫ Individual beliefs are influenced by social information
▫ Most influential where strong ties into social group
▫ Induced through social isolation (only one interpretation
• Rules of conduct for behaviors that are considered important
by most group members.
▫ Help to create and reinforce culture.
• How norms are developed:
▫ Explicit statements by group members
▫ Carry-over behaviors
▫ Primacy (first behavior that occurs becomes standard)
• Why norms are enforced:
▫ Help group/organization survive and be productive
▫ Help clarify behavioral expectations for members
▫ Help clarify group/organization’s unique identity and central
Trust & Ethics
• Trust: believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or
strength of someone or something.
▫ Trust leads to positive outcomes for organizations such as:
Innovation, creativity, coordination, collaboration, transparency,
productivity, performance, communication…
• Ethics: moral principles that govern a person's
or group's behavior.
Trust and ethics are mutually reinforcing and
create a virtuous cycle with culture.
Trust is Important, but Difficult
• According to the 2010 Ethics and Workplace Survey
conducted by Deloitte, a third of all employees planned
to look for a new job at the end of the recession:
▫ 48% of them cite a loss of trust in their employer.
▫ 46% say that a lack of transparent communication from
their company’s leadership is a motivator.
▫ 65% of Fortune 1000 executives are concerned employees
will be job hunting because of lack of trust in employer.
“Earning trust is not easy, nor is it cheap, nor does it happen
quickly. Earning trust is hard and demanding work. Trust comes
only with genuine effort, never with a lick and a promise.”
~ Max De Pree, CEO of Herman Miller ~
Tips for Building a Culture of Trust and
• Recruitment, selection and promotion of those who live the values
• Leadership integrity
▫ Align words and actions
▫ Learn from feedback
▫ Take responsibility for mistakes
• Empowerment and accountability for everyone
• Positivity matters – happiness and fun create success:
▫ Celebrations and ceremonies
• Create a winning vision
▫ Mission/value statement
TED: Spreading Ideas. USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families.
▫ Organizational stories
▫ Be inclusive of internal and external constituents
• Transparency breeds trust and creates an ethical culture
▫ Open the lines of communication
▫ Don’t hide bad news – take responsibility