2020 Organisation and Management of Aid Analysis

In Proper Organization we Trust –Trust in Interorganizational Aid Relations

Susanna Alexius, Janet Vähämäki

Trust based management of public services could serve to achieve better results. To build trust is particularly difficult in the area of development cooperation: vast distances, unequal power relations and complex practices provide hindrances. The EBA report In Proper Organizations we Trust – Trust in Interorganizational Aid Relations investigates the character and extent of trust based management within Swedish Aid relationships.


  • Trust may not be mandated.
  • Trust is built from certain sources of trust.
  • An important such source is norms about what a “proper organization” shall look like, where the existence of strong control systems is one part.
  • Such norms risk leading to mainstreaming of partner organizations, since trust is given to organizations fulfilling the norms, rather than to results achieved.
  • The same organization may simultaneously display both trust and mistrust – since it may at the same time be both a donor and a receiver of aid.

The authors argue among other things for giving increased weight to inter-personal relations between key individuals. Long-term relations between individuals may contribute to building trust also between organizations.

Susanna Alexius, Docent at SCORE

Janet Vähämäki, Researcher and Unit Head rapportförfattare at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), member of EBA