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Why trust is vital
to success with
Knowledge
Management
Stephen Bounds
Director and PrincipalConsultant
Trust
me!
Overview
• The necessity of trust
• The impact of trust
• Evaluating trust
• Interpersonal and impersonal trust
• 5 key dimensions of trust
• Assessing and acting on trust evaluations
What does it
mean to “know”
something?
AKI Model
Information mediates
our experiences
Actions alter our
environment
Knowledge drives
decisions & actions
Concept credit: DavidWilliams
Every moment of
every day, we rely upon the
experiences of others,
both past and present
Why?
What does it mean to
have trust?
Trust is …
A psychological state [to accept]
vulnerability based upon positive
expectations of the intentions or
behaviour of another.
- MikaVanhala
AKI Model
Information mediates
our experiences
Actions alter our
environment
Knowledge drives
decisions & actions
Concept credit: DavidWilliams
System boundaries
Knowledgeinformation information
System boundaries
System boundaries
What’s the difference?
Knowledge
Trust is not an either/or
but a graded scale
AKI Model
Pushed information
Pulled information
Confident action
Cautious action
Accepted knowledge
Contingent knowledge
Concept credit: DavidWilliams
Organisational knowledge
is how ‘right’ decisions and
actions are determined
Lack of trust has a
direct and significant
impact on efficiency of
knowledge use
Consequences
•Won’t seek out information from
colleagues
•Won’t trust decisions made by others,
ie lack of trust in their knowledge
•More cautious when acting on knowledge
Exercise 1: Consider the
organisation you work for
• How much does your work group trust other groups in
your organisation?
• When would you hesitate or refuse to accept the
decisions of others?
• Do you find that others are reluctant to accept your
knowledge about a process or situation?
• Do you have a process for reconciling knowledge
conflicts?
How do we decide
who to trust?
Interpersonal trust
Impersonal trust
Interpersonal trust
• People performing in a way that meets others’
expectations
• People signalling their intention to continue meeting
those expectations
• Lateral trust =Trust relations among peers or equals
• Vertical trust =Trust relations between employees
and their superiors
Dimensions of interpersonal trust
• Competence trust  A person will solve problems
and deliver desired outcomes because of their skills,
abilities, and characteristics
• Benevolence trust  A person has good intentions
and will demonstrate concern for the welfare of
others
• Reliability trust  A person will perform actions
that match their words, in line with acceptable
principles and values
Impersonal trust
• A result of roles, systems and reputation
• The individual employee’s expectation about the
employer organization’s capability and fairness
Dimensions of impersonal trust
• Leadership trust  An organisation’s vision and
strategy, as well as corporate processes, roles
and practices will lead to good/fair outcomes
• Structural trust  An organisation’s roles, rules,
structures, and relationships are operating
properly, normally, and reliably
The assessments we make
individually and collectively
about trust are subjective
Does that matter?
Exercise 2: Inter-group trust
relationships
• Identify two groups that regularly interact
• These can be wholly within your organisation, a mix of
internal/external, or completely separate
• How would you rate the trust relationship between these
groups for one chosen dimension? (Both ways – trust can
and often is asymmetrical)
• Discuss – repeat for other dimensions if you wish.
TrustRadar
Benevolence
Competence
StructuralLeadership
Reliability
Concept credit: MikaVanhala
TrustRadar
Benevolence
Competence
StructuralLeadership
Reliability
Interpersonal trust
Impersonal trust
Concept credit: MikaVanhala
Exercise 3: UsingTrustRadar
• SeeTrustRadar handout for your questionnaire
• Assess your own group, then another group from yours
which you frequently interact with
• Which trust scores were high? Which were low?
• Any surprises?Why?
Discussion: Acting on trust
• How can you act to address identified trust issues?
• Are different strategies required for each dimension?
• Comments about the usefulness of this approach?
Thank you!

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Why trust is vital to success with Knowledge Management