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Betrayal of Trust

The betrayal of trust is a significant event and often has considerable and not easily repairable consequences inside and outside of organisations. Broken trust results in the relationship, team or organisation immediately having to come to terms with control, mistrust, fear of repetition and, thus, an unwillingness to take risks. A betrayal of trust occurs when expectations of the environment, which we considered to be stable and reliable, are unfulfilled. We have an expectation that someone to whom we are married does not simply disappear without notice for fourteen days, or that the employee arrives at work on time. Likewise, one also expects the banknote, which one was given, not to be a forgery, that the employer will pay your wages and that traffic in Germany drives on the right. And one can expect that a holiday in the south will be warm and in the north cold, and that the apple will fall from the tree. From this list you can already see that the effects differ considerably, depending on whether trust has been unfulfilled in people, in systems or in nature.

Once trust has been broken, then the system is immediately occupied with itself. In relationships and in groups it is immediately more difficult to maintain shared futures (“Do I still want to go on holiday with you?”). When a betrayal of trust occurs in systems (e.g. corruption by the powerful, judges etc.) the entire social system is endangered. This is why such high significance is attached to internal processes about how to handle loss and betrayal of trust in a controlled manner (revision, ombudsman services, compliance departments, consumer advice centres etc.).