Cross-Cultural Trust | SMU Research
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Cross-Cultural Trust | SMU Research



I am tan human I'm a associate professor of organizational behavior human resource management at the Lee kichan School of Business at the Singapore Management University my area of research is trust in the workplace and I'm very interested in why people trust how people trust and what the implications for organizations when people trust each other I am currently involved in longitudinal study that has been happening of the last three to four years I'm trying with a bunch of researchers in the u.s. to do work on cross-cultural trust we have collected almost data from almost 20 countries and we are about ready to analyze them so that is the exciting moment because that's where you say ah this is what we find and you know is that alight with the hypothesis that we have in the literature at large the understanding is that people trust because of three big factors one because you trust the person who's a possibility is high who's very competent in the workplace – you trust people who have good intentions towards you people who you know covers your back people who will back you up whenever things happen three you trust people who have integrity people who want to talk people who you know are reliable and what we are hoping to do is to see if the three different factors vary across the cultures and how they vary on my previous work we found that actually the ability benevolence integrity varies across cultures in different salient scene meaning we thought in Asia people focus a lot on the benevolence of the relationship so I would trust somebody who's benevolent towards me who will look after my welfare and my interests and that's more important than how competent the person is what values the person has in the u.s. of course we found that ability is more important so we're hoping to understand that so that you know it will help countries your people across cultures learn how to interact better with each other I think when the organization understands what it means to build trust with each other is going to help particularly MNCs understand how their people can work across boundaries across values that they hold very dear to trust actually is a very important you know attribute in an organization why is that so because if you think about it an organization that is trusting when people have built a culture of trust there is what we call psychological safety right psychological safety is key for people to be creative to share ideas and to spread and collaborate you know interesting thoughts when there's no psychological safety people wonder what others would think of them people wonder if there can be violent so when there's trust a psychological safety it will have a great impact on the organizational culture and on what we call justice people feel safe enough to voice the abuse and that makes for more vibrant organization so from its our perspective I think we need to encourage people to learn how to help and trust each other so that there will be more collaboration across the different groups especially in organizations now where a lot of us are very siloed we don't understand no of our colleagues as well enough to want to collaborate I think there's a lot of implications why because in this world ours where does love strife and a lot of distrust understanding what makes people be willing to being vulnerable to you is going to have a lot of impact at workplace and some research has shown that hey the higher the trusses the less stress you have the more productive you are and the happier you are at work that is what I believe organizational behavior to be all about is about helping people be happy where they work and a strong foundation of trust is central to happiness at work in my mind I think what will happen is it will provide a lot of insights on how people can better interact and work with each other across cultures you

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