Abstract

Economic exchange is defined to consist of three elements: the individual (creating entity), the work (the creation), and other persons (the other party to the exchange) (Carter, 1989; Csikszentmihalyi, 1988; Gardner, 1993; Mitchell, Morse, & Sharma, 2003). Prior research demonstrates that each element of the exchange introduces uncertainty (cf. Alvarez & Barney, 2005) that impedes the emergence of the exchange in the first place (Mitchell et al., 2009). That is, in the initial conditions of economic exchange: (1) individuals are uncertain about outcomes of a potential exchange with respect to (2) the work to be exchanged, and (3) the other parties to the potential exchange, because the work to be exchanged introduces what we term resource uncertainty in the mind of the individual: e.g., ignorance about whether the individual has access to the resources needed to create something that others may want for exchange; and similarly, others introduce relational uncertainty: e.g., ignorance about whether the individual trusts potential others and whether these others trust the individual to deliver on the exchange. In this study we ask: what actions enable some, but not others, to create value through economic exchange in the face of relational uncertainty and resource uncertainty?

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