JR’s Test Site: In Search of Definitions

Envelope of Trust is a concept which is referred to in business articles, or in reflections on personal relationships, especially marriage.

There are Rules.

Are we gonna split hairs here? Am I wrong?

Apparently, it can also describe something public, something we’d usually call the rule of law – or the rule of ISO standards.

Preparing a warm-up for an advanced English  lesson, I’ve put myself into the position of having to think up some definitions which wouldn’t necessarily make it into an encyclopedia, but still  sound encyclopedic.

My ideas so far:

An envelope of trust frequently exists where a person can reasonably expect another to act in accordance with written or unwritten rules. In a country ruled by law, a client or defendant will usually trust that the legal practitioner will treat sensitive information confidentially, and not leak it to the other party (in a civil suit) or to the prosecutors (in a criminal case).

A similar envelope of trust needs to exist between a bank (or, more generally speaking, a creditor) and and a debtor. A creditor needs to be confident that his or her creditors are able to repay a loan, and to pay the interests.

Another envelope of trust would be the one between a supplier and a customer. Business relationship with customers depend on the customers’ trust that a supplier will reliably deliver goods or services in time, and at the agreed quality.
And of course, the supplier needs good reasons to believe that the customers will pay the bills in time.

Indeed not very encyclopedic. I do like the first line though, except for the word reasonably.

I’d be interested in some comments with your suggestions. The shorter and the more succinct, the better. If your definition is scientific or only short and succinct doesn’t matter, so long as it seems to make sense.

Yes, this is my challenge to you, reader of this post.

Ask not what JR can do for you – ask what you can do for ESL/EFL.

Many tanks


Only speak like a human, The Telegraph, July 18, 2010

3 Comments to “JR’s Test Site: In Search of Definitions”

  1. I think the key here is first to define the word envelope as it is used here – in this case as an enclosed area or space (hence – “push the envelope” meaning the same thing as pushing back boundaries). The borders of the “envelope” in this case are defined by the degree to which someone is willing to trust someone – at least this is how I have always understood this phrase.


  2. Whoah! Input! Thanks for commenting on this question, FOARP.
    I actually never came across that term, envelope of trust, until I heard Vineet Nayar using it in a BBC interview.
    Nayar seems to refer to the degree of trust, rather than to its geographical reach. As for space, it can be employees in any place where a company has operations, and customers, anyway.
    That said, it seems to me that the geographical reach of that envelope would be something like twenty to 100 kilometers where I live – most people prefer Raiffeisen banks – local cooperative banks – over national or international ones.
    Location probably matter even more in countries like China.


  3. Yeah, you’re right, it’s merely replacing the word “degree” with the more fancy-sounding “envelope” – the “envelope” is merely figurative.


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