Definition of Trust

Much has been written about the subject of trust. For the purposes of this paper, we will consider trust in the context of forming the foundation of the relationship between a supervisor or leader and their employee. Since the supervisor or leader is the representative of the organization, this also represents the trust between the organization and the employee. In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni (2002) tells us that “trust is the foundation of real teamwork” (p. 43). Many companies have used, and continue to use, a team-based organizational structure. Welter and Smallbone (2006) remind us to be cautious because “trust is based on a perception of the probability that other agents will behave in a way that is expected.”

Anytime one is involving human beings in a process, predictability of behavior is somewhat questionable. Companies use a variety of methodologies to introduce the benefits of documented processes and the attendant repeatability. The Capability Maturity Model is used by many major firms to measure their organizational processes and systems against an industry standard (Capability, 2002). The People Capability Maturity Model says that “trust also gives managers the confidence they need to empower workgroups.

When managers trust the capability of both the people and the competency-based processes they are using, they are ready to empower workgroups” (Curtis, 2001, p.44). This is very powerful within the greater concept of Earned Empowerment. The steps in empowering individuals and teams will be explored based on the foundation of trust. But what is trust? McShane and Von Glinow (2005) offer a definition that trust is “a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intent or behavior of another person” (p. 305).

The vulnerability described by McShane and Von Glinow (2005) can manifest itself in many different ways. They describe a three-pronged model that includes a basis in identification, knowledge, or calculus, in that decreasing order of strength. Identification-based trust comes out of an affiliation with others. Knowledge-based trust forms from past experience. Calculus-based trust results from the potential for consequences. [pic]

Figure 1 – Three-Pronged Definitions of trustResearching several sources, eleven distinct definitions of trust emerge as shown in figure 1. It is interesting to note that the reliability entry in figure 2 maps to the knowledge-based entry of figure 1. This definition of trust is consistent with the People CMMI statement and has become the basis for the balance of the Earned Empowerment concept. It should also be recognized that it is critical to establish and maintain an affiliation for all employees with the enterprise.

|Reliance |… on integrity, ability, or character |(American, 1981) | |Faith |Confident belief |(American, 1981) | |Care |custody |(American, 1981) | |Obligation |e.g. “the public trust” |(American, 1981) | |Honesty |… the truth of a statement |(Oxford, 2002) | |Fidelity |faithfulness to an obligation or relationship |(Oxford, 2002) | |Reliability |Certainty based on past experience |(English, 2006) | |Hope |Dependence on something future or contingent |(Merriam, 2006) | |Fear |… of consequences |(McShane, 2005) | |Consistency |… of behavior |(McShane, 2005) | |Identification |Mutual understanding and emotional bond (thinks like, feels like, responds like |(McShane, 2005) | | |the other, holds the same values) | | |Dependence |… on the efforts of others |(Katzenbach, 1999) |

Figure 2 – Eleven Definitions of trustSupervisors or leaders must be convinced that employees are ready to accept and perform on new and greater challenges. Let us explore a variety of credible sources to substantiate the importance of success building trust. Chapter 25, verses 14 through 30 of the book of Matthew, in the New International Version of the Bible, presents the Parable of the Talents. Verse 21 describes the point at which the servant who had been given five talents presents his success, and brought the original five talents and an additional five talents back to his master.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” The master was ready to give the servant additional responsibility based on the past success. Katzenbach and Smith (1999) concur in The Wisdom of Teams by saying that “for most of us such trust and interdependence do not come easily; it must be earned and demonstrated repeatedly if it is to change behavior” (p. 109). They have added the idea of earning trust as a repeating process.

The one place where the word trust appears in the Capability Maturity Model Integration is under the “Organizational Environment for Integration.” It deals with making decisions and is phrased “Defining decision types and the authority of those entrusted to make decisions enables efficient operations” (Capability, 2002, p. 590).

Supervisors and leaders entrust employees to make decisions at a variety of levels. The Capability Maturity Model says that: “Managers will transfer responsibility and authority for committed work into workgroups only if they believe the members of the workgroup are competent to perform the work and use processes that have been proven effective” (Curtis, 2001, p. 26). This is the premise that will be used to continue toinvestigate the concept of Earned Empowerment.

Figure 3 – Top-Level Graphic for Earned EmpowermentAs shown in Figure 3, Responsibility, Authority, and Accountability are given to employees by the supervisor or leader. The information and vision that is required to accomplish the challenging work is given to the employee. This is accomplished through attainable goals, realistic expectations, and clear direction. References

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, The (1981) Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, MA Capability Maturity Model Integration (2002, March) Version 1.1. Carnegie Mellon. Software Engineering Institute. Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved August 16, 2006 from the CMMI web page at Curtis, B., Hefley, W.E., Miller, S.A. (2001, July) People Capability Maturity Model. Version 2.0. Carnegie Mellon. Software Engineering Institute. Pittsburgh, PA.

Retrieved August 20, 2006 from the CMMI web page at English Dictionary (2006) Retrieved August 18, 2006 from WordReference .com web page at Katzenbach, J.R., Smith, D.K. (1999) The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the high-performance organization. Harper Business Book. Lencioni, P. (2002) Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A leadership fable. Jossey-Bass: John Wiley & Sons. McShane, S.L., Von Glinow, M.A., (2005). Organizational behavior: emerging realities for the workplace revolution (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Retrieved from the University of Phoenix My rEsource page at using the Merriam-Webster Online (2006) Retrieved August 18, 2006 from the Merriam-Webster Online web page at Oxford English Dictionary (2002) Retrieved August 20, 2006 through the University of Phoenix at

query_type=word&queryword=trust&first=1&max_to_show=10&sort_type=alpha&result_place=3&search_id=z5l1-Io7kW2-2157&hilite=50259124 Welter, F., Smallbone, D., (2006, July) Exploring the role of trust in entrepreneurial activity.