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The Paradox of Trust: trust in an intercultural setting

In Denmark trust is often perceived as the “glue” of a workplace. With it comes an expectation of collaboration and freedom under responsibility – employers therefore rarely control their employees. Instead they trust them. But what happens when Danish companies hire internationals?
Heidrun Knorr, Assistant Professor from Aalborg University has dealt with this question of trust in her Ph.D. – which was the reason to her visit at International Community on the 24th of April. Here she spoke of trust as a mechanism of exclusion and inclusion in intercultural settings. This is because people trust others who are seem similar or familiar to them – as a result groups can be more or less open to different people. 

During her research Heidrun Knorr worked together with a Danish firm who hired internationals with specific linguistic competences and an intercultural understanding. However, they struggled with integrating these employees in the organisational culture. In accordance with Heidrun Knorr this was due to contradictory views on trust and thus control. 
The solution was to form a shared identity. This allowed the sales personnel to meet – despite their cultural differences – and share professional experiences. Identity formation is a way to include new members in an organisation, concludes Heidrun Knorr.
Denmark has one of the highest levels of trust in the world, having a huge impact on its society, welfare, healthcare and tax system– so keep posted on our events on these aspects of life in Denmark. Read more here

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