Neuroscience & Trust

business_ethics_highlights_2 The article below discusses a long series of experiments carried out by the author’s lab, regarding the role of the brain chemical oxytocin in getting individuals to trust each other, and regarding the situational factors that tend to increase oxytocin levels in the brain. In short, it’s about what organizations can do to get people to trust each other.

Among the keys:

  • Recognize excellence.
  • Induce “challenge stress.”
  • Give people discretion in how they do their work.
  • Enable job crafting.
  • Share information broadly.
  • Intentionally build relationships.
  • Facilitate whole-person growth.
  • Show vulnerability.

LINK: The Neuroscience of Trust (by Paul J. Zak for Harvard Business Review)
The conclusion of the article:

Ultimately, you cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see it through, and getting out of their way.

It’s not about being easy on your employees or expecting less from them. High-trust companies hold people accountable but without micromanaging them. They treat people like responsible adults.

What do you think?


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About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.

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