Full Survey: Trust in Governments, Corporations and Global Institutions Continues to Decline
Since signaling the importance of trust in world affairs, the World Economic Forum has been monitoring public trust levels through a bi-annual global public opinion poll conducted by GlobeScan Incorporated. The latest findings from the poll show that trust in a range of institutions has dropped significantly since January 2004 to levels not seen since the months following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The poll also reveals that public trust in national governments and the United Nations has fallen the most over the past two years.
The same set of questions has been put to representative samples of citizens around the world since January 2001. The major findings from this year’s poll are:
* Since 2004, trust in government has declined by statistically significant margins in 12 of the 16 countries for which tracking is available. The Russian government is the only exception, enjoying continuously increasing trust from its citizens since 2001.
*The United Nations, while continuing to receive higher trust levels than other institutions, has experienced a significant decline in trust from 2004 levels in 12 of 17 tracking countries, suggesting an impact from the scandal over the Oil for Food Program.
* Public trust in companies has also eroded over the last two years. After recovering trust in 2004 to pre-Enron levels, trust has since declined for both large national companies and for global companies. Trust in global companies is now at its lowest level since tracking began.
* NGOs remain the leaders in trust, but they also have to contend with decline. In 10 of 17 countries for which data is available, trust in NGOs has fallen since 2004, in some cases sharply (e.g., Brazil, India and South Korea).
These findings are based on a global public opinion poll involving a total of 20,791 interviews with citizens across 20 countries (n = 1,000 in most countries), conducted between June and August 2005 by respected research institutes in each participating country under the leadership of GlobeScan. (Please see page 13 for a list of research institutes in each participating country.) Each country’s findings are considered accurate to within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The survey asked respondents how much they trust each institution “to operate in the best interests of our society”. Identical questions were asked in most of the same countries in January 2004, August 2002 and January 2001.
This got me thinking that if we are trusting institutions less, then who can we trust?
Perhaps it is our close and connected community.
I came across this quote
Trust is a bet about the future contingent actions of othersand going back to the decline in trust in organisations, one can assume that we no longer trust nor respect their authority to govern or to sell us products/services in the way that we did.
In a marketing context, as Shoshan Zubhoff explains in the west where consumption is the central tenet of our economy, it is strange that marketing is so adversarial. I dug into this in our thought piece The revolution will not be televised and we have discussed it on this site here and here
In fact Zubhoff states
People want something that modern organisations can’t give them: tangible support in leading the lives they choose. They want to be freed from the time consuming stress, rage, injustice, and personal defeat that accompany so many commercial exchanges. Despite the centrality of consumption for an advanced economy and the fact that everyone is a consumer, people have come to accept that their consumption experiences will be largely adversarial
So from education, to politics, business building communities of interest in a variety of ways around a variety of contexts delivers a communal sense of belonging and the output of that should be greater trust, especially if they are co-creating the value.