Trust-based governance in the Swedish public administration sector


The evidence-based Collective Intelligence Capability System (CICS model) uses proven tools and methodologies for implementing trust-based governance. This approach breaks down hierarchies, and releases potential for smarter, collaborative working and more value and return on investment.

The Swedish public sector is embracing trust-based governance and delegation based on competence. This leads to improved work environment, increased efficiency, and stronger focus on core business. Collective Intelligence research provides tools to develop trust-based cultures and active employeeship.

A governance and management revolution is currently initiated in the Swedish public administration sector. Challenging New Public Management’s rigorous control and focus on measurable goals has taken the form of ‘tillitsdelegationen’ (trust delegation).

Tillitsdelegationen’s goals are appealing: improved work environment, strengthened core business, increased efficiency, flexibility and focus. This is coupled with reduced unnecessary administration and a shift towards individual and institutional co-operation to achieve shared goals.

The future vision is for governance to recognize and embrace the informal: culture, values and attitudes. And in turn, for there to be fewer errors, improved quality and utilization of common resources. In a nutshell, better welfare.

This focus on governance, culture and working methods has the purpose of meeting both the business and individual’s needs by actively promoting collaboration and building trusting relationships.

Trust-based governance and management creates an environment where employees feel free to use their specialist competence to make the right decisions and use their expertise to maximum effect, instead of being weighed down by reporting and control systems.

When delegation happens at the level of decision-making where the profound competence exists, employees take responsibility for shared goals and become active in the decision-making mandate. Sharing the common business goals and understanding common tasks inspires active employees who contribute to collectively intelligent teams.

Collective Intelligence is a research-based approach which provides tools for developing a business culture which is based on trust, delegation and developing leadership as well as active employeeship. Employeeship (Medarbetarskap) is an approach to developing a culture of ownership and responsibility and comes directly from Swedish research. This approach helps organizations, leaders and employees understand what needs to be developed to create the right culture.

“We know there are opportunities to extend the scope of trust-based governance in both the private and public sectors. The evidence is clear: when organizations have increasingly active employeeship, people work smarter, milestones and goals are achieved quicker and the bottom line is improved.”

In research conducted by the Stockholm School of Economics, results showed that certain attitudes and behaviors create better conditions for trust and Collective Intelligence. These can be summarized as four abilities:

  • Representation
  • Relationship
  • Reflection
  • Integration

These behaviors can be learned through regular development activities to improve knowledge integration and Collective Intelligence across a team and organization. Managers and employees can use these tools in leadership and co-management for structured development work.

"Collective Intelligence research and tools facilitated trust-based culture development."