The Nordic region has a uniquely high level of trust, both in society and in each other. The values and benefits of trust was outlined in the publication “Trust - The Nordic Gold” from 2017, which points to the importance of trust for good economics, low levels of crime, and happiness. This publication inspired NCM Latvia to initiate a project, that troughout the last couple of years has resulted in a range of panel discussions, public lectures and orginised meetings with opinion leaders, policy-makers and other civic actors on the theme of trust.
In 2020, the Latvian State Chancellery has had values as the theme for its yearly development programme for high-level state officials, and NCM Latvia already provided for a Danish speaker prof. Lars Johannsen from Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences, at the first seminar in January 2020.
On November 13th Louise Bringselius, associate professor in Management Studies at Lund University in Sweden delivered an online lecture to Latvian high-level state officials on the topic of “Trust-Based Public Management”, a concluding event of the development programme on values for 2020. Ms. Bringselius shared valuable experiences from her work as the Head of Research at “Tillitsdelegationen”, the Government Commission for Trust-Based Public Management in Sweden, underlining the positive effects that building a culture of trust can have on all aspects of an organization.
A growing administration with excessive measuring and detail control does not always lead to better quality or performances. Reports indicate that it rather leads to a culture of silence where employees fear to address problems, added stress and ”efficiency-persecution” that affect the work environment and employees' health. Studies demonstrate that implementing a trust-based management approach can increase innovation and productivity, improve the working environment and health, as well as increased tolerance for differences in the workplace.
Ms. Bringselius stressed the fact that trust as a management approach starts at the top, by acting as a trusting leader and willingness to expose yourself to the risk that people might not live up to your expectations. Delegating decision-making down to lower parts of the organization tends to make people grow and enabling freedom of communication without a forced chain of command can lead to better decisions.
The Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Latvia will continue to work with trust on its agenda. As a part of discussing Nordic core values in the Baltic region it is essential to promote platforms for dialogue on social trust.