What Drives Trust in Businesses and Institutions?

February 4, 2022

Even though trust in the tech industry has fallen in recent years, and about half of adults have negative views about tech companies, it remains the overall most trustworthy industry across the globe, per data [pdf] from Ipsos. 

The survey of people ages 16-74 in 29 countries found that Technology (34% rating as trustworthy), Pharmaceutical (31%), Public Services (28%) and Banking (28%) are the most trustworthy sectors worldwide. In the meantime, the Government (20%), Media (19%) and Social Media (17%) sectors are the least trustworthy. 

However, looking specifically at the US, Public Services (32%) emerges as the most trustworthy sector. This is followed by Banking (30%), Technology (27%) and Automotive (25%). 

But, what fosters trust in these industries? Both globally and in the US, respondents determine the trustworthiness of an organization or institution by whether or not it is reliable and keeps its promises (43%), is open and transparent about what it does (42%) and behaves responsibly (33%). Respondents in the US tend to place more of an emphasis than average on organizations sharing their values and inhibiting the spread of information, while caring less about their response to the pandemic.

Interestingly, Technology companies tend to be evaluated on a different set of criteria. Unlike businesses and institutions on a whole, the most cited drivers of trust respondents applied to these companies include that they are good at what they do (48%), are well led (40%) and have behaved well in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (39%).

Most Trusted Media Channels

Overall, respondents tend to trust their family, friends and colleagues to provide them with accurate information about politics and current affairs, whether that be face-to-face (27% trusting at least a great deal) or via private message (23%). This is also the case in the US, where 28% of respondents trust friends, family and colleagues a great deal or more to provide accurate information face-to-face, and 21% to provide it via private messages. 

Respondents both globally and in the US also trust TV to provide accurate information (22% a great deal globally vs 17% US). However, US respondents are less likely than overall respondents to trust news apps and websites a great deal (15% vs. 21%) and video sharing websites online (9% vs. 15%) to provide accurate information. 

US respondents are also less likely than overall respondents to trust social media a great deal to provide accurate information about politics and current affairs (9% vs. 15%). This is despite about 1 in 4 US adults saying they get their news mainly from social media. Separately, almost half say they know someone who has been influenced by misinformation via social media

The full report can be found here

About the Data: Findings are based on a June-July 2021 survey of 21,503 people ages 16-74 across 29 countries.

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