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Restoring Trust in the Financial Services Sector A report published by the Industry and Parliament Trust of the UK Parliament. Notes from the Policy Event Meeting 'Restoring Trust in the Financial Services Sector'



Restoring trust in the financial services sector has been identified as an important societal, business and government problem. However, despite widespread discussion and debate, the complexity of the endeavor coupled with opposing perspectives on the best way to reform the sector (e.g. tighten vs. relax regulation), has made for slow progress. In this briefing paper, Dr. Nicole Gillespie and Gareth Owen discuss why focusing on the trustworthiness of the banks themselves offers a tangible way forward. They outline the key principles and recommended reforms involved in repairing trust in the banks and the role of policy in supporting this process.
A report published by the Industry and Parliament Trust
Notes from the Policy Event Meeting ‘Restoring Trust in the Financial
Services Sector’
Dr. Nicole Gillespie, University of Queensland
Gareth Owen, Industry and Parliament Trust
October 2013
Restoring Trust in the Financial Services Sector
Restoring trust in the nancial services sector has been identied as an important societal,
business and government problem. However, despite widespread discussion and debate, the
complexity of the endeavor coupled with opposing perspectives on the best way to reform the
sector (e.g. tighten vs. relax regulation), has made for slow progress. In this brieng paper, Dr.
Nicole Gillespie and Gareth Owen discuss why focusing on the trustworthiness of the banks
themselves oers a tangible way forward. They outline the key principles and recommended
reforms involved in repairing trust in the banks and the role of policy in supporting this process.
Restoring Faith in the Financial Services Sector 03
Nicole Gillespie is Senior Lecturer in Management at UQ Business School, the University of
Queensland. She is a leading authority on organisational trust and trust repair and has consulted
and conducted research on trust across a broad range of private and public sector organisations.
Nicole can be contacted at
Gareth Owen is Head of Content and Development at the Industry and Parliament Trust. Gareth is a
research associate at Warwick Business School working on organisational learning in crisis. His email
details are
The 2008 global nancial crisis (GFC) destroyed not only wealth but also trust and condence in banks
and the nancial sector. As Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist observed, “nancial
markets hinge on trust, and that trust has eroded” (Stiglitz, 2008). The loss of trust has been exacerbated
by subsequent prominent banking scandals including manipulation of LIBOR (London Inter-Bank
Oered Rate), money laundering and mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI). Banking is now
one of the least trusted industries in the UK.
A recent study on public trust in banking provides an up-to-date snapshot of UK public opinion
(YouGov-Cambridge, 2013). It reports that only 4% of the public associate the UK Banking Industry
with high ethical and moral standards, 6% believe it is trustworthy, and 17% trust the people running
British banks to tell the truth. The report concludes that banks are considered “unsafe” institutions that
“continue to be seen as greedy and untrustworthy, putting prot before people.” (p. 8) Only 21% of the
public agree that “UK banks are learning from their mistakes and their behaviour is improving” (p. 16).
At the same time, banks play a unique and pivotal role in society, providing a foundation for exchange,
growth and development, and the management of risk. The nancial services sector is a central pillar
of the UK economy. It accounts for approximately 10% of national output and is a signicant employer,
providing over one million jobs (City of London, 2011). Businesses, government, employees, customers
and the community at large rely on the smooth functioning of banks. Given a bank’s social license to
operate comes from the trust of its stakeholders, there is a clear need to restore the trustworthiness of
the sector in order for the wider economy and society to function at its best.
Debates on restoring trust in the nancial sector have been wide ranging in line with the common
understanding that the nancial crisis had multiple systemic causes and was the result of actions
(and inaction) by a range of organisations operating in a global context (e.g. the banks, the Boards,
government and regulatory bodies, credit rating agencies etc.). Reforming regulation is frequently cited
as one way to ensure that the UK avoids another nancial crisis. This regulatory debate often polarizes
around the call for stronger regulation or a call to minimize regulation and allow a free market to operate.
Less attention has been paid to the levels and ways in which the legislation and regulation functions,
and its validity and utility within a global system.
In the old regulatory structure, active regulation and oversight was not undertaken by any single body.
Rather the task was shared amongst a range of UK, European and global bodies. The potential impact of
the credit bubble in the U.S. and Europe and the housing bubble in the U.S. were simply not understood
by any of the individual organisations including banks, national regulators and governments. This was
because elements of the risk spanned sectors and national boundaries, and its management required a
high level of technical knowledge, as well as an ability to take an active macro-prudential perspective,
which many of the individual components in the system lacked or were not created to handle.
Financial institutions operating in the UK are now regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). These ‘twin peaks’ have addressed the rst challenge of
macro-prudential oversight by dividing the role of the now defunct Financial Services Authority (FSA)
in the UK into regulatory and prudential functions. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective to
ensure that the relevant markets function well. The PRA on the other hand focuses on macro-prudential
issues; it takes a broad perspective and uses a judgment-based approach to determine whether nancial
rms are safe, assessing rms not just against current risks, but also against those that could plausibly
arise in the future and focusing on the issues and rms that pose the greatest risk to the stability of the
UK nancial system. This has gone some way to ensuring oversight of the system as a whole.
Regulation in the UK exists in a wider European regulatory environment and European legislation has
also evolved to address the issue of macro-prudential oversight. The European Systemic Risk Board
(ESRB) was set up in 2009 to fulll a similar role as the PRA in the UK and it too would describe its role as a
judgment-based regulator. Communication between the PRA and the ESRB is facilitated by a tri-partite
layer of European regulation – the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European
Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).
Restoring Faith in the Financial Services Sector 05
The complexity of the various levels and structural interaction of dierent aspects of UK and European
regulation and legislation creates a series of challenges for an analysis of what actions are required to
ensure the long term stability and trustworthiness of the nancial system. The huge number of variables
and bodies that need to be considered can make the task of rebuilding trust in the nancial system as
a whole seem overwhelming.
In contrast, there is existing understanding of how to restore trust at the organisational level. That is, we
know how to reform organisations to make them more trustworthy. Siemens for example, implemented
extensive strategic, structural, procedural and cultural reforms to restore its reputation in the wake
of its bribery scandal. The UK water utility, Severn Trent Water, underwent a major transformation to
demonstrate its renewed trustworthiness after its data manipulation problems. The specics dier
for each organisation depending on the nature of the violation and its unique context and design,
however the key principles and approach remain the same, with accumulating research evidence of
their eectiveness.
Hence, one important way to gain traction on repairing trust in the sector is to focus attention on
restoring trust in the banks themselves. Indeed, the recent Salz Review provided an in-depth review and
set of recommendations on how Barclays could restore stakeholder trust following its recent scandals,
which are now being systematically implemented. If trust is repaired en masse at the level of the banks,
then trust in the broader banking sector will follow. Encouragingly, the 2013 study on public trust in
banking reports an acute awareness amongst the UK senior banking elite of the need to restore trust
(YouGov-Cambridge, 2013).
Trust is, to a large extent, in the ‘eye of the beholder.’ However, when the object of trust is a bank with
responsibilities to multiple stakeholders, the bank’s treatment of one of its stakeholders (e.g. customers)
can powerfully inuence the level of trust held by other stakeholders (e.g. employees, regulators).
In order to restore trust, banks need to operate in a trustworthy manner. Banks are trusted when they
are seen to consistently meet three conditions:
• Competence: Reliably delivering on commitments and fundamental responsibilities (e.g. to
responsibly manage risk and allocate capital, to provide quality customer service, to deliver value to
clients and investors, to adhere to regulations and legal requirements), and having the knowledge, skills
and competencies to do so.
• Benevolence: Demonstrating due care and concern for the interests of its stakeholders, and
having a positive, and not detrimental, impact on them (e.g. ‘duty of care’). This requires understanding
stakeholders’ needs and expectations and is facilitated by the perception that the organisation has
benevolent motives and aligned interests with the trustor.
• Integrity: Adhering to commonly accepted moral, ethical and legal principles and standards,
including honesty, fairness, fulllment of promises and contracts, and congruence between words and
Repairing damaged trust fundamentally requires two processes: 1) providing consistent evidence of the
organisation’s renewed trustworthiness, and 2) convincing stakeholders that a future reoccurrence of
the trust violation can be reliably prevented. That is, banks need to demonstrate to their stakeholders
that they have reformed themselves suciently to be reliably trustworthy and resilient to future
transgressions. A three stage process is recommended:
To restore trust, the bank rst needs to understand what caused the trust failure. Hence, the rst step
involves conducting a rigorous, independent investigation which considers the contributory role played
by internal organisational factors. The Salz Review of Barclays is an excellent example, as is the Woolf
report into BAE Systems and Siemen’s internal investigations. This then provides the blueprint for the
organisational reforms required to convincingly repair trust.
The investigation report oers the bank’s Board and senior executives the opportunity to explain to its
stakeholders what went wrong and how it intends to x it. Acknowledging and taking responsibility
for problems, and where appropriate, apologizing, paying ‘penance’ and making amends to aected
stakeholders for harm caused, are fundamental principles in trust repair (Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Pfarrer
et al., 2008). For example, after its data manipulation scandal, Severn Trent Water rebuilt its reputation
by apologising, compensating customers and accepting regulatory nes.
It is also important to communicate clearly and convincingly how the bank is reforming itself to x the
problems. When perceived to be genuine, these are powerful symbolic acts that signal the organisation
has ‘learnt its lesson’ and ‘is putting its house in order.’
Restoring Faith in the Financial Services Sector 0706
Organisations can be designed to be resilient to trust failures. This requires embedding trustworthiness
into all components of the organisation’s system and practices. Figure 1 identies these organisational
components and how they can reinforce trustworthiness.
Banks that design their organisational infrastructure to reinforce trustworthy conduct (competence,
benevolence and integrity), over time, earn reputations of trust with their stakeholders.
This section reviews some of the central internal reforms recommended of banks to strengthen their
trustworthiness, and hence restore trust. These recommendations draw on prior reviews and research
on organisational trust repair (Dietz & Gillespie, 2012: Dietz & Gillespie, 2011; Galford & Drapeau, 2003;
Gillespie & Dietz, 2009; Gillespie et al., 2012; Hurley et al., 2013; Pfarrer et al., 2008), as well as strategies
for restoring trust specically in the UK Banking Sector (Financial Stability Board, 2013; Parliamentary
Commission on Banking Standards, 2013; The Salz Review, 2013; Tolley, 2013; YouGov Cambridge, 2013).
Research suggests that organisational reforms are more eective at restoring trust when voluntarily
implemented, rather than externally imposed, highlighting the benets of banks proactively pursuing
a reform agenda.
A) Bank Strategy
A bank’s strategy sends strong signals to stakeholders about the organisation’s motives, values and
priorities. The coherence, eectiveness and sustainability of the strategy, its t with the external
environment and its impact on stakeholders (both intentional and unintentional), directly aect
stakeholders’ interpretations of the banks competence, benevolence and integrity.
Banks have been publicly criticised for pursuing a myopic strategy of maximising short-term revenues
and prots (‘making the numbers’) ahead of other purposes. This strategy serves the interests of those
executives and bankers who receive lucrative bonuses, whilst in many instances failing to meet the
expectations and long-term interests of other stakeholders, particularly customers, investors and the
general public. When the balance goes beyond merely prioritising one stakeholder group over another,
to serving one stakeholder group at the expense of or causing harm to another stakeholder group, a
bank has entered the realm of unethical conduct. Some UK banks also pursued an overly-aggressive
strategy of global expansion, without the necessary management processes in place to deal with the
resultant complexity and coordination challenges. As witnessed, rapid expansion leaves an organisation
vulnerable to manifold conduct, operational and reputational risks.
To be trustworthy, bank strategy needs to provide a clear, unifying mission that delivers on responsibilities
to all stakeholders in a reliable and sustainable manner. It needs to articulate how the bank will deliver -
not only on its nancial goals - but also its broader social purpose and core responsibilities for managing
risk and responsibly allocating capital, from a balanced, multi-stakeholder perspective. Drawing on an
example from a dierent industry, after allegations of bribery and corruption, BAE Systems’ revised
strategy prioritised consideration and protection of corporate reputation when pursuing new business,
even if it meant losing business to uphold ethical standards and social responsibilities.
Restoring Faith in the Financial Services 0908
B) Governance, leadership and management practice
Strong governance is essential for organisational trustworthiness. Bank Boards have been critiqued for
not providing sucient oversight in the lead up to the GFC. One of the Board’s primary responsibilities
is to challenge and review management. To do this eectively, they need to be independent of the
executive team and free of conict of interest, possess the required mix of specialist skills, knowledge and
experience, receive high quality, open and transparent information, and be in regular communication
with stakeholders. The Walker Review further recommends that banks establish a separate Board Risk
Ultimately the Board and senior executives are responsible for the bank’s public reputation and
trustworthiness, and for leading the trust repair eort. To do this well requires that the Board dedicates
sucient time to conduct regular reviews and evaluations of the bank’s performance in delivering on its
responsibilities to stakeholders (not merely shareholders), and its business practices and cultural values.
Committing to make these reviews transparent keeps the focus on the reform eorts, and demonstrates
the bank’s openness and integrity.
Research attests that the right tone at the top is a critical ingredient in trust repair. A banks senior
leaders and management symbolise, role model and shape the conduct of the organisation and its
employees, through their actions, words, decision-making and allocation of resources. Hence, part of
the solution requires that bank executives and layers of managers act with integrity, consistently role
model appropriate values and standards, and sanction unacceptable behavior. While challenging to
achieve, this is not a magic bullet: reforms to other parts of the organisation, particularly the culture,
reward, HR and control systems, will also be required to embed trustworthy conduct.
C) Bank Culture
Perhaps more than anything, bank culture has been cited as most in need of reform. Organisational
culture is central to reform because norms, beliefs and values strongly inuence conduct, including
whether rules, policies and lines of authority are adhered to or not. Cultural control compensates for
the limitations of rules: that is, it is impossible and inecient to have a rule for every contingency. A
strong ethical culture that engages and unies employees to uphold rm wide values, encourages ‘bad
news’ to be surfaced early and dealt with in a responsible manner, and makes deviant behavior salient,
uncomfortable and unacceptable, enhances organisational trustworthiness and resilience to trust
failures. Cultural reforms have been an essential ingredient in many high prole cases of trust repair
(e.g. Siemens, The BBC, Severn Trent Water, and BAE Systems).
The historical image of a bank as a conservative pillar of society has been replaced by the current
stereotype of excessive risk-taking and self-interest, with many viewing bankers as ‘out of touch with
society. Reforms to banking culture need to shift the mindset away from short-term protability and
individual gain, to delivering long-term value, putting customers rst, taking accountability for risk, and
operating by the spirit and not just by the letter of the law. Such cultural change typically requires clear
articulation of a set of trust-enhancing core values that connect with and reinforce the bank’s broader
social purpose, and then ensuring these values are not only espoused but also understood and enacted
in the daily behaviour and decision making of all employees. Such cultural change is dicult and cannot
be achieved without clear top management support and involvement, and extensive communication,
training and education forums that enable sta to make sense of and incorporate the values into their
daily work. Investments in aligning broader structures, HR processes and incentives are also typically
required to embed cultural change.
D) Reward and HR processes
Much public anger towards banks comes from the perceived inequity of remuneration awarded to
some executives and bankers. The scale of bonuses and remuneration has been viewed as unjustiable
and out of touch with reality, particularly in the context of banks receiving billions in taxpayer support.
Rewards tangibly communicate what an organisation really values, and remuneration based solely on
achievement of revenue targets is ill-equipped to drive trustworthy behaviour in line with ethical values.
A recent CIPD report on attitudes to working in the UK Banking sector identies that “65% of employees
agree that some people in their organisation are still rewarded in a way that incentivises inappropriate
behaviour” and 75% agree that “some people in their organisation are still paid excessively” (CIPD, 2013:
4). In most banks, only a relatively small proportion of sta receive high bonuses (typically investment
bankers and top executives) yet this powerfully inuences both internal and external perceptions of
fairness, and is clearly an issue that remains to be addressed.
One way to do this is to align remuneration schemes with performance against a ‘balanced scorecard’
of indicators (see for example, the Salz Review). A balanced scorecard assesses not just ‘making the
numbers’ but also how this is achieved, that is, whether behaviour is in line with rm values and ethical
standards. Assessing an individual’s t to rm values and ethical conduct through other HR processes,
particularly recruitment, selection, induction, performance management and promotion, further
reinforces trustworthy conduct. Deferred bonuses and clawback (malus) schemes also help refocus
attention on long-term value creation. The HR functions of banks need to be empowered to scale back
excessive remuneration where appropriate, and introduce broader forms of recognition beyond pay, as
well as ensure reward schemes are not unintentionally incentivising exploitative or dishonest practices.
Restoring Faith in the Financial Services 1110
E) Structures and control systems
Control systems and structures set parameters around acceptable behaviors and can instill
trustworthiness by assigning roles, responsibilities and expectations on incumbents and constraining
discretionary actions. Conversely, absent, unclear or unused structures and processes can facilitate,
or fail to prevent, incompetent and/or dishonest behavior. It has been recognized that many banks
did not give sucient attention or clout to their governance, risk and compliance procedures across
the spectrum of operational, conduct, reputational, credit and market risk. Clear, eective control
mechanisms and accountability for risk are essential ingredients of a trustworthy bank.
All banks should have a code of conduct that sets high ethical standards and training processes to
ensure all sta understand how to enact the code in their daily work. Robust procedures for surfacing
and reporting exploitative or unethical conduct, and sanctioning unacceptable behaviour and value
breaches demonstrates that that organisational values and code of conduct are not merely lip-service.
Product development and service delivery processes and procedures need to be aligned with the
organisation’s trust-enhancing values and ensure clear, transparent and accessible information on
products and services is available to ensure customers are only sold products and services appropriate
to their needs.
F) External Regulation
Banking has largely become an impersonal system. While customers may know their bank manager
or nancial advisor, they rarely know the multitude of faceless people who collectively provide the
nancial products and services they use, or make investment decisions on their behalf. Furthermore,
the sophistication and complexity of some nancial products (particularly in investment banking), mean
few customers can accurately evaluate value and risks without expert advice. Increasingly customers
must depend on the highly specialized skills of unknown others to do the right thing and act in their
best interests under conditions of considerable risk.
Knowing that there is a body of regulation that protects customer and investor interests and lays
minimum standards for the industry, facilitates stakeholders to continue to invest in and trust the
nancial system. When eective, regulation facilitates a level playing eld amongst competitors, and
prevents banks from gaining unfair advantage through unscrupulous or illegal conduct. However
the trust enhancing role of regulation is undermined by the perception that banks try to outlawyer or
outsmart regulators, adopt an adversarial approach and use their considerable political and economic
clout to contest, undermine or rebuke regulation.
Trust in banks is not served well by a public perception that banks are above the law, or perceive themselves
to be more powerful (and hence unrestrained by) the government and regulators. In contrast, trust is
well served by banks adopting a cooperative, open relationship with regulators, and working with them
to implement a fair and eective set of regulation that lifts and maintains high standards across the UK
banking industry. There is an opportunity for banks to establish their own professional regulatory body
that sets, trains and enforces high standards amongst bankers. For example, there have been calls for a
professional licensing system for bankers, similar to what is already in place for accountants and lawyers.
Clearly the reform agenda for banks is extensive and challenging. It will require signicant investment
of time, eort and resources over a sustained period of time to embed and integrate across the
organisational components (see Figure 1). Ongoing evaluations of the eectiveness of the reforms and
the extent to which the bank is delivering to stakeholders’ expectations will be important for identifying
areas that continue to fall short. Implemented eectively, regular evaluations maintain focus on the
bank’s trustworthiness (i.e. ‘what gets measured gets done’), strengthen understanding of stakeholders’
expectations, and provide evidence of the banks’ renewed trustworthiness to its stakeholders.
While the banks must take the lead role in restoring the trustworthiness of their individual organisations,
it is the mandate of policy makers to provide a conducive environment and the regulatory and legislative
framework to support trustworthy conduct at the system level. In this section, we identify three broad
strategies that policy makers can use to support the banks in their trust repair eorts.
Leadership through Legislation
To facilitate banks to adhere to legal and regulatory expectations, there needs to be a good deal more
signposting for the sector about the precise role of legislation and regulation. This requires policy making
to be clear what the expectations are of those operating in the sector, including the values to be upheld.
Clearly legislation must provide a robust and enforceable legal framework which carries disincentives
for banks and their senior executives to operate unethically or irresponsibly. However, it must go further
than simply creating a ‘ring fence around banks’ activities, to also tackle issues of ethics and values in
a holistic way. There has been of late some very good examples of joined up policy-making between
government departments, which has achieved this. The Plan for Growth, a joint initiative between
Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Treasury, is an excellent example and has helped signpost
aspects of Government policy for business.
Restoring Faith in the Financial Services 1312
Forums for dialogue across Whitehall and a more joined up approach to the legislation related to the
nancial services sector would provide an environment in which the banks are clearer about the (tacit)
expectations placed upon them from policymakers and regulators, rather than relying simply on the
reactive penalties for a lack of compliance.
Ensuring communication and co-ordination with the sector
Sector-wide organisations such as the British Bankers Association (BBA) undertake the important
function of creating consensus across a range of dierent types of banks on issues which aect the
sector as a whole. However, the impetus is on policy-makers to proactively ensure that there is a
dialogue between those making policy and those in the sector – not on lobby organisations per se. A
consideration is the environment in which such dialogue takes place. Many of the current mechanisms
such as Select Committee meetings can make dialogue between policy makers and those in the sector
confrontational. In contrast, some of the All Party Political Groups (APPGs) have been successful in
creating a space for those businesses that will be aected by legislation to share their views on the
opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead in a more collegiate environment.
It is also important to consider who is taking part in the dialogue. Clearly there is a good level of exchange
between banks and their counterparts in government and Whitehall. However, much of this is either
curated by public aairs departments or is specic to a particular organisation. An environment where
there is an equal footing between colleagues in the sector, government and Parliament to engage in
a non-confrontational fashion might provide useful insights for those making policy and those in the
Signposting future policy and regulatory directions
A third strategy for policy-makers is to enhance clarity in the regulation that governs the
nancial services sector. Clarity around the relative jurisdictions of EU and the UK legislation
in particular would help to provide a more stable context for UK banks. There is currently little
signposting for those in the sector to interpret precedent – particularly with the newness
of the regulatory regimes. Signposting not only the current, but also future, Government
policy is vital to the long term stability and success of London as a global nancial centre.
There is a degree of resignation amongst commentators in Westminster and analysts in the City around
the issue of trust repair in banks. This is in part because the recent nancial crisis is not an isolated event.
Rather a pattern of boom and bust in the nancial services has emerged over time which has become
accepted by many economists as an inevitable part of the modern business cycle. History is littered with
examples of nancial turbulence: the panic of 1837; the ‘long depression’ at the end of the 19th century;
the 1929 crash; and more recently, the stagation in the late 1970s; the bubble; and the current
global nancial crisis. However, as the global economy becomes more interconnected, the impact and
complexity of these periods of nancial turbulence have grown exponentially and the role of eective
policy and macro-prudential regulation and legislation becomes more important.
In this policy note, we have identied two key challenges in repairing trust in the UK nancial sector.
The rst is for the banks to undertake the task of rebuilding trust and legitimacy in their individual
organisations. This job can only be done by the banks themselves and requires each organisation to
rst understand and acknowledge what has happened and then to design and embed internal reforms
to reliably enhance the organisation’s trustworthiness. The second challenge is for policy makers to
provide an eective legislative and regulatory framework which supports and encourages trustworthy
conduct by the banks, recognizing that there will not be a ‘one-size-ts all’ approach. This is facilitated by
legislation that claries the expectations of banks, structures that enable eective communication and
coordination across the sector, and signposting current and future policy and regulatory trends.
In sum, we have argued that the banks themselves need to take ownership for repairing the trust of
the industry for it to be eective. Regulation and policy sets the tone and shapes the broader context,
but only the banks themselves have the ability to fundamentally redesign themselves in the required
ways. These changes will inevitably take signicant and sustained investments over several years and
require overcoming many challenges and obstacles. Research suggests that the rewards for banks
that successfully navigate this journey and restore high levels of stakeholder trust include enhanced
performance, repeat business and referrals, competitive advantage and reputational resilience.
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Restoring Faith in the Financial Services 1514
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... These sentiments reflect concerns of trust the UK where it is felt that trust in the financial system has been eroded with long term consequences for the financial sector and real economy (see FSS, Chater and Decision, 2015 Gillespie Gillespie & Owen (2013)). ...
This study examines the metaphors used in the British press to characterize the payday loan industry in order to develop our understanding of organizational delegitimation. Drawing on critical discourse analysis and theories of moral panic, we show how the metaphors used in the press framed the industry as a ‘moral problem’. The study identified four root metaphors that were used to undertake moral problematization: predators and parasites, orientation, warfare and pathology. We show how these metaphors played a key role in the construction of a moral panic through two framing functions: first by constructing images of the damage and danger caused by the firms and second by attributing agency in such a way that moral responsibility was assigned to the organizations. We also extend the discussion of our findings to explore the ideological dimensions of the moral panic. We develop a critical analysis that points to the potential scapegoating role of the discourse, which served as a convenient moral crusade for the government and other neo-liberal supporters to pursue, while detracting attention away from the underlying socio-economic context, including austerity policies, the decline in real wages and the deregulation of the finance sector. From this critical perspective, payday loan companies can be seen as a ‘folk devil’ through which society’s fears about finance capitalism are articulated, creating disproportionate exaggeration and alarm, while the system as a whole can remain intact.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Commissioned report on six successful cases of organizational trust repair
Full-text available
We propose a four-stage model of the organizational actions that potentially increase the speed and likelihood that an organization will restore its legitimacy with stake- holders following a transgression. Organizations that work to discover the facts of the transgression, provide an appropriate explanation of their wrongdoing, accept and serve an equitable punishment, and make consistent internal and external rehabili- tative changes increase the likelihood of meeting stakeholder demands and, conse- quently, have a higher probability of successfully achieving reintegration with stake- holders than those that do not.
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We propose a systemic, multilevel framework for understanding trust repair at the organizational level. Drawing on systems theory, we theorize how each component of an organization's system shapes employees' perceptions of the organization's trust-worthiness and can contribute to failures and effective trust repair. We distinguish the framework from prior work grounded in dyadic assumptions and propose underlying principles and a four-stage process for organizational trust repair. Finally, we explore the implications for research and practice.
This chapter analyses the global financial crisis (GFC) from a trust perspective to identify insights and principles for the practical repair of institutional trust. A systemic, multilevel framework (the Organizational Trust Repair model) is used to examine the nature of the trust failure, the contributing causes to the GFC, and the trust repair strategies adopted. The diagnosis reveals the GFC was a consequence of (in)action by governments, rating agencies, Boards of Directors, CEOs, management, and agents employed by the financial institutions. Analysis of trust repair strategies shows that 'distrust regulation' control mechanisms and structural approaches play a central role, including increased government regulation, reforms in Board governance, cultural change within institutions, replacing senior leaders, and redesigning incentive structures to better align management and stakeholders' interests. The chapter concludes with insights and a research agenda to advance understanding of institutional trust repair.
Researchers have established that trust is critical to organizational effectiveness. Being trustworthy yourself, however, does not guarantee that you are capable of building trust in an organization. That takes old-fashioned managerial virtues like consistency, clear communication, and a willingness to tackle awkward questions. It also requires a good defense: You must protect trust from its enemies. Any act of bad management erodes trust, so the list of potential enemies is endless. Among the most common enemies of trust, though, are inconsistent messages from top management, inconsistent standards, a willingness to tolerate incompetence or bad behavior, dishonest feedback, a failure to trust others to do good work, a tendency to ignore painful or politically charged situations, consistent corporate underperformance, and rumors. Fending off these enemies must be at the top of every chief executive's agenda. But even with constant vigilance, an organization and its leaders will sometimes lose people's trust. During a crisis, managers should enlist the help of an objective third party--chances are you won't be thinking clearly--and be available physically and emotionally. If you "go dark" in the face of a crisis, employees will worry about the company's survival, about their own capacity to cope, and about your abilities as a leader. And if trust has broken down so badly that your only choice is to start over, you can do so by figuring out exactly how the breach of trust happened, ascertaining the depth and breadth of the loss, owning up to the loss instead of downplaying it, and identifying as precisely as possible the specific changes you must make to rebuild trust.
An Indispensable Industry: Financial Services in the UK. London: City of London Corporation
  • City Of London
City of London. (2011). An Indispensable Industry: Financial Services in the UK. London: City of London Corporation.
Building and Repairing Organisational Trust. London: The Institute of Business Ethics
  • G Dietz
  • N Gillespie
Dietz, G., & Gillespie, N. (2011) Building and Repairing Organisational Trust. London: The Institute of Business Ethics. ISBN: 978-0-9562183-8-4.
The Decision to Trust: How Leaders Can Create High Trust Organizations
  • R Hurley
Hurley, R. (2012). The Decision to Trust: How Leaders Can Create High Trust Organizations" San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Beyond Rogue Employees and Bad Apples: Engineering Trustworthy Organisations
  • R Hurley
  • N Gillespie
  • D Ferrin
  • G Dietz
Hurley, R., Gillespie, N., Ferrin, D. & Dietz, G. (2013). Beyond Rogue Employees and Bad Apples: Engineering Trustworthy Organisations. Sloan Management Review, 54 (4), 75-85.
Changing Banking for Good: Volumes 1 & 2. London: UK Houses of Parliament
Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (2013). Changing Banking for Good: Volumes 1 & 2. London: UK Houses of Parliament.