Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer

The Edelman Trust barometer 2013 has been published. Bottom line: Trust as we knew it before 2008 has not returned, and most likely will not anytime soon; financial services remain at the bottom of trusted organizations, and The Netherlands is not doing too well either.. I think it’s a report worth sharing. Let me know what you think!

3 thoughts on “Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer

  1. Dus als ik het goed lees dan is het enige waarin de financiële sector wordt vertrouwd hoe men omgaat met persoonlijke gegevens. Dat komt niet meer goed, zonder het hele systeem van de economie substantieel te veranderen en als iedereen dat weet, waarom gebeurt dat dan niet?


  2. Hi Wim

    Another interesting post, albeit one where your readership has to do all the thinking for themselves, for a change.

    The Edelman Trust Barometer raises several interesting questions.

    The first and most obvious one is whether you can trust the Barometer itself. As this is Edelman, I assume that sampling methodology and data analysis are fine. But I am not so sure about the definition of trust itself; in the form of the 16 trust attributes on page 33. Looking down the attributes I can’t but help think that they are overwhelmingly western, educated and somewhat politically liberal attributes. Putting customers before profits for example. This reaches out to the care and fairness dimensions of morality that liberals typically over-emphasise. It sounds nice, but it is also a great way to go out of business too. And there are a number of other problematic attributes too.

    Putting issues with the Barometer itself to one side, it does raise some other interesting questions. Such as why do people trust people like themselves over regular employees, CEOs or government spokesmen? This speaks volumes to the cognitive biases identified in recent work on behavioural economics. Or why should business be expected to solve social or societal issues? This makes assumptions about the telos of business that need further discussion first. Or why do people trust NGOs? More than any other group, I see NGOs as the least trustworthy. They are often single-issue zeolots who are highly biased in their outlook, selective in their use of evidence and dishonest in their communications. Not exactly strong foundational premises for trust.

    No doubt this discussion could run and run. But reading through the Barometer reminds me why I never use instruments like the Barometer. They are interesting as a conversation starter at the coffee shop, but ultimately, useless titbits of information.

    Graham Hill


    • Hi Graham,

      Glad you noticed I’m experimenting on my blog with postings of stuff I think are interesting conversation starters or just good to share.

      I’ve been following the Trust Barometer for some years now and frankly I think it’s a valuable research with remarkable consistency over time, meaning that we can actually see “the state of trust” evolve. The results of this study are also consistent with Dutch research by the Insurance Association on trust in financial services in The Netherlands.

      All in all I don’t think either the attributes you mention are all it takes to ‘restore’ trust, and it doesn’t take all either, not in all cases anyway.

      My take, from this and other resources, as well as my own observations from the work I do, is that we need to change our act. We can no longer perform an act like “this is who we want to be, so we just say it out loud, and then it becomes the truth, no matter if we really are”.. And although “down here” it looks like everyone understands that I think you agree with me that is far from the real world’s truth..

      The Trust Barometer helps me raise awareness, and yes that might be because of my cognitive bias, but resistance is futile, so I just go along ;)



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