kei’s notes

Trust is different from trustworthiness

Trust is different from trustworthiness. Trust is an investment given out between two entities/parties and is contextual/purposeful. It responds to the question whether or not to place trust (in a person, institution or system). This can imply good and bad decisions. Trustworthiness is a quality unilaterally earned from one side. It responds to the question whether the trust placed is really worth it. Aligning trust with trustworthiness gives the best outcome.

Trust depends on:

  • Social recognition (e.g. review, social hallmarks, credit score)
  • Appearance, behaviour (and the coherence thereof)
  • Split-second social perception (i.e. the snap judgement made within a tenth of a second when we see someone’s face about his/her traits) (Botsman; ch. 5)

Trustworthiness depends on:

  • Competence
    How capable a person is to do something. Does he/she have the skills, knowledge and experience to do a particular role or task.
  • Reliability
    A person’s consistency in doing what they said they would do for you. ‘Can I depend on this person? Will he/she follow through?’
  • Integrity
    About honesty and fairness. ‘What do they gain by lying or by telling the truth?’
    ‘Say what they mean, and mean what they say.’
  • Benevolence
    Empathy and goodwill. How much does this person care about the goal or commitment?

Trustworthiness, as a quality, implies reliability and can be interpreted as (added) value. Trust (especially generalised trust or through collective review, for example), as a hallmark, can stoke security. Both of them can lever up willingness to pay risk premium in a transaction (Botsman; ch. 6).
==> [Trust is the basic unit of human connection]

Informed transparency can help earning trustworthiness and eventually realise trust leap (build the trust and take it into action) or boost existing trust.
==> [Transparency can but not always help establish trust]

Last update: 2020-06-20


Botsman, Rachel. Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart. Perseus Books, 2017.

Trust is different from trustworthiness