M’sians trust online information most: Edelman survey


(Bernama) – Malaysians in the general public trust information resulting from online search engines highest, followed by traditional and social media, according to the findings of Edelman Malaysia’s, Edelman Trust Barometer 2013 survey.

“What is apparent here is that the online space, encompassing both digital and social media, cannot be ignored as trusted sources of information. 

“The high trust scores in ‘owned media’ point to an urgent need for all organisations to fully update and utilise their corporate assets such as web portals, newsletters, YouTube and even Twitter to disseminate information,” said Edelman Southeast Asia Managing Director, Bob Grove. 

While overall trust scores were generally higher in the survey, it is pertinent to note the trust gap between key institutions and leadership, pointing to a potential crisis in leadership.

The findings also indicated that while the general population respondents trust business, only 26 per cent trust business leaders to tell the truth. Mirroring this, only 21 per cent trust government leaders to tell the truth.

Edelman Malaysia Managing Director, Raymond Siva said the Malaysian findings of the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, clearly demonstrated that Malaysians are expecting organisations to deliver on societal attributes over the expected operational attributes in order to gain their trust.

“It is apparent that influence and authority are moving away from Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and government leaders to experts and peers,” he added.

Presenting the findings of the survey at a press conference here today, he said, both business and government leaders must change their management approach to become more inclusive by seeking the input of employees, consumers, activists and experts such as academics, and adapting to their feedback.

He said the dynamics of trust had evolved from the traditional Pyramid of Influence, in which information is a monologue, controlled and dictated by a few, to a more complex Diamond of Influence where information is a dialogue, co-created by many to empower.

“In this environment where trust is still fragile, this is a clear opportunity for business and government to re-claim the licence to lead,” he added.

The survey also showed that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) continued to be the most trusted institution in Malaysia, growing from 68 per cent to 76 per cent this year.

Edelman is the world’s largest independent public relations firm, with 66 offices and more than 4,500 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities.

Other findings of the survey among the informed public in Malaysia, is that the most trusted industry sectors are technology (85 per cent), banks (82 per cent) and energy industry (81 per cent).

The least trusted were brewing and spirits (56 per cent) and media (66 per cent), although both industries saw double-digit growth.

Globally, the survey noted that corruption and wrong incentives driving business and policy decisions were cited as key reasons for distrust in business and government.

It said the poor performance and incompetence were also a leading factor in trusting government less.

In terms of multinational corporations, Malaysians placed a higher trust in companies headquartered in Germany, Canada and Sweden over companies based in the emerging markets of Brazil, China and India.

Following trends across the Asia Pacific, Malaysians also trust big businesses more over small businesses.

The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer in Malaysia was produced by research firm Edelman Berland and consisted of 20-minute online interviews conducted from Oct 16 to Nov 29, 2012.