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Trust and Rules

For organisations, trust and rules are interconnected in an interesting way. The guiding process social complexity and handling the present influence each other simultaneously. If you trust, you assume that the other party will adhere to the (agreed) rules and that, if exceptions were necessary, he would give support (even if you knew nothing about it or only discovered about it later).

Trust, therefore, creates scope and free movement during the guiding process handling the present. If you keep to the rules, you always create further trust from those who have given trust. The same applies when exceptions are communicated and checked for consensus (“Was it ok that…?”). Those who strain the trust, in order to utilise decision possibilities which, they assume, would not be agreed with, rely on the fact that this will remain secret, that they will be able to deal with the resulting conflict or that they will be able to manage alright without the trust of the other party in future. All three possibilities bring additional complexity into the system. Conversely, those who offer rule-orientated behaviour, also offer themselves as someone worthy of trust. They can observe themselves not taking chances which depend upon breaking rules, and can assume that this will be reciprocated with a readiness to trust by the other party. Those who become known as individuals who never really adhere to the rules, will, on the other hand, probably attract control activities and constant supervision.

Organisations operate in this environment, which is marked by repercussions. These connections become important during the attempt to change something, because change mostly involves other, new rules and control processes. Through this, the system is moved from its imbedded state and must first decide to examine anew, whether trust is justified or whether exceptions to the new rules are possible. This process and its capacity to disturb is often underestimated.