This statistic probably won’t surprise you. The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer has found that less than 20 percent of respondents to its survey feel that business or governmental leaders are truthful regarding contentious issues. The level of trust held by the American public for business leaders lags far behind the rest of the world, which trusts leaders to do the right thing 50 percent of the time even while trust in leaders to tell the truth plummets to 18 percent.
“We’re clearly experiencing a crisis in leadership,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman. “Business and governmental leaders must change their management approach and become more inclusive by seeking the input of employees, consumers, activists and experts such as academics, and adapting to their feedback. They must also pass the test of radical transparency.”
The Barometer revealed that academics, technical experts, and members of the general public are considered twice as trustworthy as CEOs and government officials. Such lack of trust was found to be driven by poor performance and the perception of unethical behavior. Other key findings from the report include:
• Business leaders are trusted by less than 50 percent of the public in 16 of 26 markets and government leaders in 21.
• The most trusted sectors were technology (77 percent) and automotive (69 percent).
• Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are the most trusted institutions in the world.
• The mainstream media and online search (both at 58 percent) are the most trusted sources of information.