Reputation does not mean trust

It does not sound true, right? If reputation does not generate trust, then what are we doing with eBay’s feedback, with Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts? Are we kidding ourselves?

Apparently yes, as the recent development of the G4S story shows. I wrote about G4S before, because they are such an interesting recent example of the company with a tainted reputation that is not a bank. I am somehow tired of writing how banks lost their reputation.

Anyway, the recent loss of reputation did not apparently prevent G4S from being shortlisted for another lucrative governmental contract. They were forgiven, in a way. The government sheepishly believes that this time they will behave and will actually deliver. That there will be no need to call the army to help.

In general it is true that reputation does not directly translate into trust. Josang noted that both statements are true: “I trust you because of your reputation” and “I trust you despite your reputation”.

However, if not for the reputation, then why does the government trust G4S? They are not like a caring mother who is willing to forgive her disobedient child. They are the guardians of our money, so that they should behave in the diligent manner.

The corporate version of my Trust-O-Meter (that I developed to measure trustworthiness of your potential partners) has nine variables, and only one is related to reputation. I do not think the government has run this kind of exercise, though. Which is a bit of a shame, as now I can only guess why G4S was granted governmental trust.

As for you, think of the difference between reputation and trust. Think of examples ‘for’ and ‘against’. Think of your activity on eBay, on Amazon or on Facebook. If you can, join me at the workshop. If not, drop me a line.

This entry was posted in companies, government, news, Trust-O-Meter, trustworthiness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.