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Trust Barometer Special Report: The Belief-Driven Employee

There is a new compact between employees and their employer that requires business to take a more ambitious role in society while recognizing their employees as the most important stakeholder.

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What is the Edelman Trust Institute?


Trust has become the foundational currency of stakeholder capitalism—yet the path for trust-building is changing faster than most leaders are able to adapt. Society has changed expectations of what it takes to earn and restore trust.

Edelman began our investment in trust 21 years ago with the launch of the Edelman Trust Barometer because we believed trust and its impact on the world deserved to be studied and understood. The Trust Institute builds on 20+ years of global research across millions of stakeholders to drive enhanced, data-informed decision making around the new imperative of trust.

Our mission is to provide leaders across institutions with a deeper understanding of the state of trust, and to equip the C-suite, boards, and leaders across all institutions with actionable insight about the changing dynamics of trust building and erosion.

The Edelman Trust Institute partners with academia, leading companies, foundations and other institutions to conduct research and apply advanced analytics to expand trust knowledge and extract new understanding. We explore the state of trust in institutions and brands to understand and document how social, political and cultural changes are shaping trust and the expectation for institutions and leaders to act.

Now in its 21st year, the Trust Barometer surveys more than 34,000 people in 28 countries annually. As of 2021, Edelman studies on trust have surveyed over 2 million respondents and gathered 23 million data points, researched and analyzed 87,000 employee reviews and more than 150 peer-reviewed academic articles, and conducted in-depth interviews with C-level business leaders around the world. Our cross-cultural insights on trust are widely cited in media outlets such as The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, Fortune, Forbes and others.

Edelman began its investment in trust 21 years ago because we believed trust and its impact on the world deserved to be studied and understood. Today, society is at an inflection point: trust is the foundational currency of stakeholder capitalism and a defining business metric for companies and brands.

We conceived the Edelman Trust Barometer in 2000 as a direct response to the “Battle in Seattle,” when non-governmental organizations stormed the World Trade Organization to protest globalization as an unfair distribution of wealth. Edelman partnered with business and academic experts across disciplines to articulate the construct of trust that remains valid today and fielded an initial study polling opinion shapers in five countries on their trust in NGOs relative to media, government and business. In the two decades since, Edelman has studied the dynamic shifts in trust across all institutions, governments, cultures, and geographies globally, substantiating that trust is essential to future success on a societal and on a company level.

Today, society is at an inflection point. Trust is now the foundational currency of stakeholder capitalism and increasingly a defining business metric for companies and brands. The Trust Institute’s research and Trust Barometer insights continue to drive the global conversation around our deeper understanding of trust and its linkage to success.

Currently, the Trust Institute is focused on examining the new pressures and expectations on business in the wake of the pandemic and the rise of business as the most trusted institution today.


Our People

Edelman Trust Institute (ETI) is led by a team of senior Edelman leaders.  Justin Blake, Edelman’s global executive positioning practice chair, serves as executive director. Tonia Ries serves as Executive Director of Intellectual Property for the Edelman Trust Institute and oversees all Trust Barometer research studies. In addition, ETI is guided by a core group of advisors that form our Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is comprised of experts from academia, business, policy, media and the NGO sector to shape ETI’s research, programming and editorial agenda. Project teams are led by ETI research directors and senior analysts, and include consultants from Edelman’s global network of industry, sector and strategic communications experts.

Our Advisory Board

This diverse group of professors, authors and former journalists shape the Trust Institute’s research, programming and partnership agenda and participate in convenings with leaders across institutions. Advisory Board members are authorities on the intersection of business, media, policy and civil society.


Pierre Chandon

The L’Oréal Chaired Professor of Marketing—Innovation and Creativity at INSEAD and director of the INSEAD-Sorbonne University Behavioural Lab

Sandra Sucher

Professor at Harvard Business School

Stephanie Creary

Organizational Scholar and Assistant Professor of Management, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Rik Kirkland

Former editor FORTUNE and partner/director of publishing, McKinsey

Hong Fan

Tsinghua University professor of Journalism and Communications and director of the National Image Research Center

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