If you only read one thing this week…

Building Trust in Emergency Response Teams by Rob Neal
March 26, 2009, 8:37 am
Filed under: organizational learning

“What is trust?  Why it is important in team performance?  What increases or decreases the level of trust in a team?  How can leaders build high levels of trust and effectively manage trust in a team? “

Two publications that are part of a multi-agency program to build capacity in emergency response, the Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB).  ECB’s Building Trust Project attempt to answer these questions,  and to offer methods for measuring, developing and managing trust in emergency response teams.

Scoping study

The first publication is a Scoping Study by the Building Trust in Diverse Teams Working Group.  This group is led by Oxfam, with representatives from Mercy Corps, CARE, Save the Children, and World Vision.

The goal of the study was to “collate and summarize what is presently known about the culture of trust with particular reference to diverse teams operating in emergency situations; to identify factors that can influence levels of trust; and to develop methods of measuring trust.”

A variety of methods are used to look at trust in teams: scholarly works, methods for measuring trust, interviews, and more.  The sum of their efforts are recommendations and guidelines for tools and interventions.


The second publication is a book (or PDF) called Building Trust in Diverse Teams: The Toolkit for Emergency Response. This publication builds on the work completed in the scoping study and other research complied as part of the Building Trust Project.

The authors lay out their goal in the preface, to “create an accessible and versatile set of tools that will be used across the sector to improve team effectiveness during an emergency and to improve our ability to save lives–the primary driving force behind this work.” In the book you will find tools for trust measuring and building, including the “ten criteria for trust.

The ultimate goal of both works is to make teams more cohesive and effective during an emergency.


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