Relational Goods between person, acknowledgment and Affective Commitment: A contribution to the creation of public value

Combining market and non market elements for value creation

Relational Goods between person, acknowledgment and Affective Commitment: A contribution to the creation of public value

Anna Marrucci, Riccardo Rialti, Lamberto Zollo, Cristiano Ciappei

The world must respond quickly to the new emerging emergencies that are permeating our times. Economic, moral, institutional, and affective crises: indeed, in a globalized world the crisis can only be collective, so it is essential to find solutions that go to the deep core. A central role is played by the human groups at the core of our society: family, friends, universities and enterprises. In particular, during this historical moment, organizations must not lose the profound human sense of cohesion, social development and innovation, otherwise the whole society would fall apart. Coherently, enterprises should set apart profit maximization as their exclusive objective and focus also the creation of public value (Smith, 2004).

The debate on the meaning and creation of public value is relevant and structured. Creating public value is not only a prerogative of companies who are operating in the public sector, it should be a common objective for all organizations (Moore, 1994). Thus, it is important to verify if actions taken by a company are bringing a clear benefit to society (Alford, 2008). Specifically, these values are held on the relationship between individuals and a social entity (Rutgers, 2015). In practice, evaluating a contribution to the creation of public value means establishing if that contribution has had a substantial impact on one or more needs at individual level (Meynhardt, 2009). Accordingly, whether public value is associated with the creation of individual and social well-being, managers need to combine the social mission pursued by the firm with the individual needs of its employees, recognizing that the public/social is a resource from which value can be drawn (Lott Jr, 1990).

 Enterprises are in fact networks of social relationships (Grootaert & Van Bastelaer, 2002); therefore, managing these relationships in accordance with a human logic guarantees the creation of well-being for people and a greater grade of efficiency for organizations. Economic science has always studied the importance of social relations; however, the logic behind this phenomenon is always instrumental to the achievement of some finality, excluding the true essence of the phenomenon itself. As an example, relational sociology focused on the conceptualization of the real meaning of a relationship in order to define the so-called relational goods (Donati, 2019). Analyzing a part of literature, we have been able to identify some common elements to the different areas of relational goods thought (Bruni & Stanca, 2008). In trying to unite the concepts of person and acknowledgment and in arguing that relations between human beings should be rethought, we have concluded that only those relations formed by intersubjectivity’s and reflexivity’s aspects are able to guarantee unplanned and unexpected benefits to the involved subjects. (Donati, 2014). Economic science has always supported the idea that anything that is able to guarantee some form of benefit can be classified as a good. In the case of intersubjective and reflexive social relations, we cannot refer to private or public goods, but to relational goods.

Social relations have a triadic structure: they presuppose the participation of two subjects and guarantee the development of advantages. The intersubjectivity refers to the encounter between two people that takes place because a social relationship exists. Reflexivity instead refers to mutual education. Taking care and giving value to a social relationship means understanding the good of that relation and integrating it with one’s personal identity. The sociologist Donati identified the importance of intersubjectivity and reflexivity in a relationship (Donati, 2011). However, it is necessary to extend the concept of reflexivity also towards the aggregative aspect. It is not possible assume that all people are able to reach and integrate the good from a relationship, but the benefits will be able to emerge also in reference to a type of aggregative reflexivity (Mulé, 1999). If it is true that social relations conceptualized as the union of intersubjective and reflexive aspects are able to guarantee a benefit and to qualify themselves as relational goods, it will be important to measure and evaluate this benefit. Indeed, it is thanks to these benefits that well-being is developed. The analysis of literature has highlighted a gap in regard to relational goods importance in the managerial and organizational spheres. Existing research undertaken on this phenomenon has in fact primarily focused on the identification of relational goods in contexts such as the family (Terenzi et al., 2016), schools and universities (Colozzi, 2006), or non-profit enterprises (Donati, 2011). Additionally, while several economists have developed conceptual models in attempt to measure the phenomenon, the tools lack empirical validation (Colozzi, 2011). Among these, the most detailed one derives from the research of Donati and Solci (2011), who have conceptualized the relational good through a list of thirty items. This study falls mainly within the sociological field and does not completely satisfy the needs of application in the economic sector. Henceforth, the first aim of this research is to explore whether such instrument deriving from sociology could be useful in economic literature. Additionally, the research will also focus on the exploration of the antecedents and outcomes of relational goods in organizational context. Thus, we have highlighted a substantial gap not only on the measurement of relational goods, but also on the effects that these goods can produce within for-profit organizations

#Affective Commitment #Intersubjectivity #Public value #Reflexivity #Relational goods #Turnover Intention