Trust Is Like The Air We Breathe


“Trust is like the air we breathe. When it is present, no one notices. When it’s absent, everyone notices.”

-Warren Buffett


The Business Ethics Alliance have been studying the concept of trust for more than a decade. Alliance Executive Director, Dr. Bev Kracher, working with Dr. Cindy Corritore and Dr. Susan Wiedenbeck, produced a stream of research about online trust that was published in computer science academic journals. Some of this work is briefly described in a recent column in the Omaha B2B Magazine.

Online trust is an extension of the trust that can exist between human beings. But exactly what is this trust? And how does it play out in relationships, especially in business?

It is fascinating to realize that there are many forms of trust at play between humans in the business context. For example, the difference between swift and slow trust. But there is also individual, interpersonal, mutual, collective, knowledge-based, deterrence-based…..the list goes on.

Is there a special kind of trust called moral trust? Or are all forms of trust moral?  These questions have been addressed in the literature and the overall contention is that moral trust is meta, so to speak. It is a “level above” and it involves the belief that individuals should approach the world and their experiences with an attitude or expectation that others won’t harm them. When people approach the world in this way, they open themselves to being the best kind of humans possible and elevate others to be their best, too.

Well, if it’s so good, how can individuals and organizations produce (moral) trust? This is where research in neuroscience comes into play. More and more, scientists are using extreme technologies to see what parts of the brain light up when in a trusting versus distrusting mode in hopes to learn how to  stimulate the areas of our brains that react to trust. If so, business leaders would have a valuable tool to help create high-trust teams and workplaces.


Royanne Doi, Global Legal, Ethics & Compliance Adviser, Yamaha Corporation will be in Omaha on September 10 to talk to business and nonprofit executives about the neuroscience of trust. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A TICKET.