Towards a trust and attention based management concept : paying attention to attention first

Authors Henny van Lienden, Marco Oteman
Published in Proceedings of the European conference on Management, Leadership & Governance
Publication date 2014
Type Lecture


Last year in Klagenfurt a poster was presented, in which a first attempt was made to combine institutional economic theory with organizational theory under the motto: transaction costs can be influenced! A framework of 4 theories was constructed of Social Capital theory, Attention Theory, Proactive Theory and Principal Agent Theory. This year we focus on attention theory. First a research conducted at Portaal (a housing corporation) is presented. Looking for a new way of dealing with its tenants, Portaal is supporting several initiatives that tenants undertake. These initiatives are used by Portaal to strengthen social cohesion and thereby reinforcing their relationship with tenants. Although most initiatives are more or less successful, the relationship between Portaal and its tenants did not really improve. In a secondary analysis an attempt has been made to find out why this is the case. This secondary analysis was done using a constructivistic approach on the basis of grounded theory. It appeared to us that the relationship can be characterized by misunderstanding and misinterpretation, that there are lot of different views, that there is a mutual lack of understanding, recognition and attention. Furthermore, we see that within Portaal employees have different views and ways of dealing with tenants, thus creating a situation in which working at cross purposes is the common situation. The general conclusion of what is going is that attention is suboptimal in both the internal and the external relationships. Then three theories are discussed in which "attention" plays an important role: Baart's theory of presence, Scharmer's Theory U, and Yalom's existential psychotherapy. It is concluded that the working principles that these theories furnish can very well be used to reshape internal relationships as well as external relationships. The overall conclusion of the article is that "attention" can very well be used to develop a new management concept. Of course a lot work has to be done yet

Language English
Published in Proceedings of the European conference on Management, Leadership & Governance
Page range 212-220