The Neuroscience of Trust

The Neuroscience of Trust

Subtitle: 
Management behaviors that foster employee engagement
Author: 
Zak, Paul J.
Publisher: 
Harvard Business School Press
Date published: 
2017
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Harvard Business Review
Source: 
Harvard Business Review, Vol. 95, No. 1, January-February 2017, pp. 84-90
Abstract: 

Managers have tried various strategies and perks to boost employee engagement--all with little impact on long-term retention and performance. But now, neuroscience offers some answers. Through his research on the brain chemical oxytocin--shown to facilitate collaboration and teamwork--Zak has developed a framework for creating a culture of trust and building a happier, more loyal, and more productive workforce. By measuring people's oxytocin levels in response to various situations--first in the lab and later in the workplace--Zak identified eight key management behaviors that stimulate oxytocin production and generate trust: (1) Recognize excellence. (2) Induce "challenge stress." (3) Give people discretion in how they do their work. (4) Enable job crafting. (5) Share information broadly. (6) Intentionally build relationships. (7) Facilitate whole-person growth. (8) Show vulnerability. Ultimately, Zak concludes, managers can cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see it through, and then getting out of their way. In short, to boost engagement, treat people like responsible adults.

Language: 

CITATION: Zak, Paul J.. The Neuroscience of Trust . : Harvard Business School Press , 2017. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 95, No. 1, January-February 2017, pp. 84-90 - Available at: http://library.au.int/neuroscience-trust