Trust and business : an inquiry into the functioning of trust in business

Fouche, J. B. (2006-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The last decade has seen a continuing erosion of trust in business. Companies inability to realise trust in practice has created public cynicism and mistrust. This eruption of mistrust compelled business to ask why trust has become as issue of concern and how one can re-establish trust in commerce. The study will investigate the functioning of the concept of trust in business. Our hypothesis is that a move from mistrust to trust in the current business environment is only possible through a change in our understanding of ethics. A mere change in business processes or a tightening of corporate governance and compliance will not help us to move away from the culture of suspicion that is negatively influencing our business environment. We will propose the work of Emmanuel Levinas as an ethical alternative to the de-ontological and teleological approaches that are currently dominating our understanding of business ethics. Using some of his key concepts we construct what we call an 'embodied trust'. This form of trust is grounded in responsibility towards the other, and not in the rational sentiments of the egotistical subject. We complement this more philosophical approach to trust by building a business case for it by looking at the way it functions in various business instances. We acknowledge that a lot of what we have discussed is already an implicit part of what is happing in the business community. By looking at issues such as integrity, transparency I leadership, corporate culture, stakeholders, corporate social responsibility, branding and corporate governance, we highlight the existing forms of trust that already adhere to the discussed ethical requirements, and indicate the direction that business needs to take to cultivate this kind of trust in all its business processes. We conclude our study by giving two examples that will serve as illustration of our argument. The first being Regal Bank as an example of 'embodied mistrust' and the second being Allan Gray as an illustration of 'embodied trust'.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die laaste dekade is gekenmerk deur 'n voortdurende erosie van vertroue in die sakewereld. Maatskappye se onvermoe om in die praktyk vertroue te skep, het verder bygedra tot openbare sinisme en wantroue in sakepraktyke. Hierdie ontploffing van wantroue het organisasies genoop om te besin oor waarom vertroue so 'n belangrike kwessie is, en oor hoe om dit te herstel. Hierdie studie . ondersoek die wyse waarop die konsep van vertroue in besigheid funksioneer. Dns hipotese is dat die verskuiwing van wantroue na vertroue in die heersende besigheidsomgewing aileen moontlik is deur 'n veranderde begrip van etiek. Die blote verandering in besigheidsprosesse of 'n verskerping van korporatiewe beheer en nakoming van reels sal cns nie help om weg te beweeg van 'n kultuur van agterdog wat besig is om cns besigheidsmilieu negatief te be"(nvloed nie. Ons stel die werk van Emmanuel Levinas as 'n etiese alternatief voar om die de-ontologiese en teleologie5e benaderings te vervang wat tans cns beg rip van besigheidsetiek oorheers. Deur van sy sleutelbegrippe te gebruik, konstrueer ons wat ons noem 'n 'beliggaamde vertroue'. Hierdie vorm van vertroue is gegrond in verantwoordelikheid teenoor die ander en nie in die rasionele trekke van die egotisiese subjek nie. Ons komplementeer ons filosofiese benadering tot vertroue met 'n praktiese kyk op hoe dit funksioneer in verskillende besigheidsprosesse. Baie van dit wat ons bespreek, is reeds implisiet deel van dit wat gebeur in die bre;; besigheidsgemeenskap. Deur te kyk na sake soos integriteit, deursigtigheid, leierskap, korporatiewe kultuur, belanghebbendes, korporatiewe sosiale verantwoordelikheid, handelsmerke en korporatiewe beheer, wys ons uit hoe bestaande vorme van vertroue reeds voldoen aan ons voorgestelde etiese voorwaardes. Hiermee saam gee ons ook die rigting aan waarin besigheid moet ontwikkel om die tipe vertroue deel te maak van al sy besigheidsprosesse. Ons sluit die studie af deur twee voorbeelde te gee ter illustrasie van ons argument. Die eerste is die van Regal Bank as 'n voorbeeld van ' beliggaamde wantroue' en die tweede is die van Allan Gray as 'n illustrasie van 'beliggaamde vertroue'.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20838
This item appears in the following collections: