1. Introduction -
1.1 Introducing the Trust Deficit -
In 2011, DLA Piper published a report based on a series of interviews with business leaders from some of Britain’s biggest companies.
The Trust Deficit: Views from the Boardroom identified the significant Trust Deficit with which every business has to grapple. It found that every business starts with such a deficit and that the burden of proof lies with each company to prove that it is worthy of the public’s faith. Those businesses – and leaders – that are successful in nurturing trust are the most likely to succeed, while those who fail to do so will struggle to deliver real shareholder value.
Two years on, this new report returns to the theme and asks how companies can foster a culture of trust in a world where people are ever more cynical; a world in which (according to some) the financial crisis has called old certainties into question.
1.2 Business in the ‘post-crash’ economy -
The prevailing public and political narrative suggests that the financial crisis has changed the operating environment for business considerably and that companies cannot simply return to a ‘business as usual’ approach. Politicians of all sides now talk of ‘fairness’ and ‘the social good’. The Prime Minister has called for a new “responsible capitalism” that is “fair as well as free”, while a prominent banking CEO joined the former chairman of the (now defunct) FSA in calling for the banking industry in particular to ensure it is “socially useful”.
Meanwhile, major companies are threatened by consumer campaigns due to perceived tax avoidance as some suggest they have broken an unwritten moral code. On the opposite side of the fence however, many commentators point out that these companies have broken no laws and contribute an enormous amount to the British economy by creating jobs, supporting suppliers and engaging in communities.
Furthermore, they argue ‘big business’ generally is the engine that will power the return to growth to the benefit of the country as a whole. It is time to stop vilifying businesses, they say, and to start acknowledging the valuable contribution they make to the country.
Originally published by Populus - February 2014 (www.populus.co.uk).
Please see full report below for more information.
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