Avoiding a Trust Meltdown – New Chair Seeks to Enhance How Companies Build and Sustain Trust

16 Jan 2019

The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School has partnered with professional services firm KPMG Australia to establish a new Chair in Organisational Trust.

UQ & KPMG partnersUQ Business School Dean and Head Professor Julie Cogin said introducing a Chair of Organisational Trust in an educational environment is a timely step in the right direction.

“The recent Royal Commissions highlight a need in Australia right now to address the widespread issue of organisational trust breaches and their ramifications.

“To create change, we need to educate future leaders on how to embed trust into the DNA of a company and its culture. Our new partnership with KPMG and the establishment of a Chair will continue to integrate trust at an educational level and contribute a research-centric voice to the national conversation,” Professor Cogin said.

KPMG Australia Chairman Alison Kitchen said, “In my first year in this role I can scarcely recall a single meeting in which the issue of trust has not come up. Leaders have snapped hard to the fact that trust is a hard prerequisite for long-term success. We are strongly committed to, and excited about this opportunity to support research and education which helps businesses understand how trust can be taken from the theoretical and applied to the practical.

“The thriving organisations of the future will be those that are trusted – by their customers, employees and the community alike. We look forward to contributing to organisational learning through the vital work of the new Chair in Organisational Trust.”

Professor Nicole Gillespie, a leading international scholar in organisational trust, has been appointed as the inaugural Chair. Professor Gillespie has a strong research and industry-focused background in trust development and repairing trust breaches in organisational contexts. She recently completed a study with colleagues titled ‘Designing Trustworthy Organisations’ published in MIT Sloan Management Review based on analysis of major international companies that had to overcome substantial trust breaches.

Professor Gillespie said her appointment to the Chair would facilitate the translation of trust research into practice.

“We have a lot of research insight on how to build, maintain and repair stakeholder trust across a range of sectors. Part of my role will be to bring this research into the public domain to inform practice and provide clear guidelines for how companies can improve trust with stakeholders,” said Professor Gillespie.

“Many organisations and sectors are facing significant trust challenges right now. This is an opportunity to bring a research-informed perspective to the debate about a public trust deficit in Australian institutions,” said Professor Gillespie.

As part of the partnership with KPMG, Professor Gillespie is launching a new research project examining trust in the digital age. “Artificial intelligence and technologies such as blockchain are reconfiguring trust processes, as well as creating new trust challenges around privacy, security and human rights.”

“Now, more so than ever socially responsible governance needs to be a priority in the education of emerging and future leaders,” said Professor Gillespie.

Media: Emma Pryor, UQ Business School Communications, e.pryor@business.uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 4506