I am currently reading “The Trust Factor” by John O. Whitney. The book was published in 1994 and the management/leadership concepts contained in it are remarkably current to my way of thinking. I am working my way through the list of books I compiled when I began this journey. I decided to take them in chronological order hoping it would provide me with a better sense of how we look at trust - a foundation of sorts.
Whitney draws on a definition of trust from Webster: “Trust is the belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability and justice of another person or thing”. Random House offers: “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence”.
This got me thinking that I should explore definitions as a part of my testing the hypothesis I have about the behaviors that are necessary in trusting relationships. I am wondering how others would define trust.
Here are a few more from the dictionaries:
Oxford - “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something”
Macmillan - “a feeling of confidence in someone that shows you believe they are honest, fair, and reliable”
And, of course, Wikipedia - “a situation characterised by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other's actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.”
Once again I am struck by the concept of vulnerability I noted in an early post where trust was defined as one’s willingness to be vulnerable to another group member’s actions. Each of the above definitions seem to imply the concept of vulnerability.