In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected it is a surprise. An expectation about the behavior or performance of another person, expressed to that person, may have the nature of a strong request, or an order.
Particularly in social sciences including game theory, expectation plays one of the central roles. In game theory, a Nash equilibrium constitutes a correct and stable set of expectations held by the players. Various other solution concepts of games such as rationalizability have been proposed according to how much knowledge players have on the expectation of other players’ actions.
In Emotion and Adaptation (Oxford University Press, 1991), Richard Lazarus asserts that people become accustomed to positive or negative life experiences which lead to favorable or unfavorable expectations with regard to present and near-future circumstances. Lazarus notes the widely accepted, philosophical principle that “happiness depends on the background psychological status of the person — that is, the overall pattern of expectations and existential mood — and cannot be well predicted without reference to” one’s expectations.
What Do People Expect to Get From The Social Web?
The expectations are all over the place. From finding jobs to finding candidates to fill jobs. From finding contacts to help us earn a living to finding venture money to enable us to develop a living. From finding business deals to finding people looking for deals. From finding the next breakthrough to learning how to use what is currently available. From creating profile to searching through profiles. Everyone is expecting to find something of value.
From the business perspective the expectations are center around reach for advertisers and richness of engaging customers. Businesses are fundamentally looking for ways to do things better and at less cost to making money creating better things for people to use. The expectation fuel that drives business is making or saving money, it is not about building quality relationships. The irony is that people are the driving force behind business, without the people, suppliers, employees, customers, nothing happens, no money is economic value is exchanged. However, a lot of time when people enter the sphere of “business” it seems as though the value of relationships get put in the back seat while money sits up front. Don’t agree? When was the last time the value of relationships was itemized on the financial return or paramount to making business decisions?
How Do Expectations Get Formalized?
People formalize personal relations in the form of conversations. Businesses formalize relations in the form of contracts. According to contract law, implied in every contract is an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing which prevents one side of the agreement from denying the benefit of the relationship to the other side. Historically conflicts centric to implied expectations ended up in expensive legal disputes where the BIG simply buried the small with the cost of carrying the dispute.
The “business” of the social web is foundational to having conversations and these very conversations have reach and influence. None of the conversations are contractual rather they are free flowing and open for disagreement. The “people” of the web represent suppliers, employees and customers of businesses. The people are self governed and self organized without any one formal institution controlling the expectations. Rather the expectations of the people are centric to relationships formalized from conversations, not contracts. The implied covenant of any relationship is free will. If any individual feels that the relationships formed are not producing mutual benefit then the relationships typically do not progress or prosper.
For any business looking to either save or make money with the social web then a shift in thinking must occur. The fuel that creates economic value is the quality of relationships with suppliers, employees and customers, the people. The irony of this dynamic is that same fuel can hurt your business. Poor relations and bad performance can quickly become the thread of conversational rivers that swell to waves of influence like never before. The small could actually bury the BIG with the reach of influential conversations, one to one to a million. The power is shifting and the stakes are high. Be careful with what you expect or don’t expect from the social web.
What say you?