The role of trust in collaborative relationships

During the 2016 National Delta Congress on water management in the Netherlands on Thursday, 3 November, Theo Camps, Chairman of Berenschot, highlighted the results of the pilot scheme implemented by Berenschot in the IJsselmeer region into the effectivity of collaboration and the potential risks that could threaten mutual trust.

In the context of this pilot, Berenschot and Tilburg University developed a measuring instrument to determine the trust between the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, water boards, provinces, municipalities, civil society organisations and the Delta Commissioner; a good indicator for the effectivity of the collaboration. Berenschot researched the strength of the collaboration based on four elements: knowledge and skills, affinity, predictability and equality. This took place through a survey and a round of in-depth interviews.

The main outcome of the research was that the amount of trust between the partners is high. In recent years, strong teams have been formed across organisational boundaries. At the same time, parties seem to be aware that trust can be damaged quickly and therefore relationships must be maintained. “Collaboration costs time, it is not something that you do indiscriminately. Even in the implementation phase, which we are entering right now, collaboration and coordination is necessary,” says Camps. A more detailed report of this research can be found in the magazine Water Governance no.3 2016.

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