Chapter 2: The Value of Trust
INTRODUCTION The previous chapter highlighted the critical role of relationships and networks in enabling ﬁrms to cope with increasing environmental complexities and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Yet, in order to deﬁne the actual scope of the reticular or relational approach, it is useful to assess its impact on the capability of gaining a competitive advantage and generating economic value. Such an approach will prove to be sustainable whenever the ﬁrm is capable, by means of an innovative managerial strategy, of producing value – be it considered as an accumulation of intangibles or as an eﬀect generated at the economic level. This chapter aims at demonstrating, synthetically, how ﬁrms, by gaining trust, can succeed in expanding and enhancing both their immaterial assets and economic value. Thus, according to the recent evolution of the resource-based view, this chapter will initially examine the impact of ﬁrm relationships – and in particular trust – on intangible assets (section 2). Some typologies of trust-based relational resources will be highlighted, to the extent to which they integrate and strengthen the traditional interpretative apparatus of intangible resources based on the ﬁrm’s internal competencies (section 3). Subsequently, the impact trust has on the ﬁrm’s management processes (section 4) and its economic performance (section 5) will be brieﬂy analysed. The latter eﬀect lends itself to a twofold interpretation. Firstly, trust can be seen as a vector capable of stabilizing relations with the demand and, consequently, increasing the ﬁrm’s customer portfolio value (section 5.1). Secondly, on a more...
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