Stephen Covey describes these circumstances well in First Things First:
A low-trust culture is filled with bureaucracy, excessive rules and regulations, restrictive, closed systems. In the fear of some “loose cannon,” people set up procedures that everyone has to accommodate.
The level of initiative is low — basically “do what you’re told.” Structures are pyramidal, hierarchical. Information systems are short-term. The quarterly bottom line tends to drive the mentality in the culture.
In a high-trust culture, structures and systems are aligned to create empowerment, to liberate people’s energy and creativity toward agreed-upon purposes within the guidelines of shared values. There’s less bureaucracy, fewer rules and regulations, more involvement.