The Trusted Imperative

Building stakeholder trust—and the vital role of the risk function

Emily Frolick

Emily Frolick

U.S. Leader - The Trusted Imperative, KPMG US

+1 513-763-2453

Rob Fisher

Rob Fisher

Global Leader - The Trusted Imperative, KPMG US

+1 804-782-4226

Today’s companies face pressure to grow while also increasing agility, managing risk, and building resilience for whatever tomorrow holds. In this arena, trust is the coveted ticket to play. When you earn the trust of your stakeholders—from customers and regulators to employees, suppliers, investors, and the communities where you operate—it gives you the permission to innovate boldly, grow responsibly, and create a new future.

How can you earn and sustain the trust of your stakeholders? In this article, explore the six elements of trust and considerations for leveraging your risk functions.

The Trusted Imperative
When you earn the trust of your stakeholders, you create a solid platform for responsible growth and bolder innovation. Learn how to embed trustworthiness throughout your business.


Research suggests that people trust organizations that demonstrate three key characteristics.


The collective knowledge, skills, and abilities to reliably provide products and services


Going beyond a profit motive alone to also show you care for stakeholders


Doing the right thing, including taking responsibility and correcting an issue


N. Gillespie & G. Dietz, “Trust Repair After an Organization-level Failure,” Academy of Management Review, 2009, 34(1): 127–145; R.C. Mayer, J.H. Davis & F.D. Schoorman, “An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust,” Academy of Management Review, 1995, 20(3): 709-734; F.D. Schoorman, R.C. Mayer & J.H. Davis, “An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust: Past, Present, and Future,” Academy of Management Review, 2007, 32(2): 344-354.