Trust in the Enterprise Enables the Flow of Information

Trust in the Enterprise Enables the Flow of Information
Photo by Benjamin Ziegler
In David Amerland's book, Google Semantic Search, he references a research paper, Propagation of Trust and Distrust, by Ramanathan Guha. In the research paper, Ramanathan notes in his summary of results that "Typical webs of trust tend to be relatively 'sparse': virtually every user has expressed trust values for only a handful of other users." In closed environments there is a real need for wholesale participation in the system because that provides the connective matrix that helps generate trust.

Am I mistaken when I say that the enterprise is a 100% closed environment. Using Ramanathan's thoughts from his research, it is pretty easy to see that if you want information to flow in the enterprise, you have to build a level of trust within the enterprise between employees. As trust levels increase, flow of information between employees occurs at higher and higher effectiveness levels.

This concept does not just apply to Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) but it applies to the analog world and other technology systems. Obtaining 100% participation is easy when employees are in close proximity to each other but when people are spread across multiple floors, buildings and countries, obtaining 100% participation and building trust is much harder.

So if your employees need to trust people that are one floor above them or across the world, companies need to approximate close proximity. One of the best tools to use to enable improved communication through a trust network is an ESN built around virtual communities. Communities are places where people can go to share information about a topic of interest. These virtual communities can be for a topic like Java development or it could be about a project.

This note was inspired by +David Amerland 's book, Google Semantic Search - Amazon location 1680.