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Paper info: Resource - Activity Dynamics: On the Mobilization of Trust and the Essence of Trusting


Resource - Activity Dynamics: On the Mobilization of Trust and the Essence of Trusting


Lars Huemer
Norwegian School of Management
Lars Huemer

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 17th IMP-conference in Oslo, Norway in 2001.


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Whether an organization creates value and enjoys a competitive advantage dependsfundamentally on how it mobilizes its resources and perform its activities. Intangibleresources have recently been emphasized when explaining the origins of competitiveadvantage, and trust is an example of such a resource. In order to create value fromtrust, like any other resource, an organization must put its resources into action. Thestudy takes a dynamic perspective on the interplay between resources and activitiesand describes trust as a resource coexisting with and dependent upon anorganization's additional resource constellation. Trusting is seen as a dynamic ?meta?capability with the potential to redefine roles and relationships. The empiricalapproach is qualitative and based on a case study. By inquiring into the mobilizationof trust is suggested that present conceptualizations fail to emphasize the essence oftrusting. Mainstream argumentation claims that if trust is to be sustained and hence aresource of continued benefit, organizations are advised to perform their activities inaccordance with present routines and procedures. This advice is foremost relevantwhen building trust, whereas trusting in the case studied implied a deviation fromtraditions, conventions and what was regarded as ?business as usual?. In contrast withcontemporary arguments, trusting signified a reduction of predictability. This viewjustifies recent claims stressing that trust is good for learning and innovation. Finally,it is suggested that a continuous interplay between resources and activities may helpexplaining the origin of long-term competitive advantage.