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The Competence-Based Approach: Veblenian Ideas in the Modern Theory of the Firm

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  • Foss, Nicolai J

Abstract

The author argues that a contemporary stronghold of a number of Thorstein Veblen's crucial ideas can be found in the emerging competence-based approach to the firm (e.g., Penrose, Chandler, Winter). For example, the emphasis in this literature on firms as path-dependent entities characterized by their heterogenous and group-based knowledge bases can be linked with key themes in Veblen's work. Thus, the paper presents the competence-based approach as a modern Veblenian approach. Moreover, the Veblenian aspects of the competence-based approach are also those aspects that most differentiate it from the other dominant economic approach to the firm, the contractual approach (e.g., Alchian and Demsetz, Williamson, Grossman and Hart). The aim of the paper is both to make this historical point and to present a contemporary body of theory that may with some justice be called Veblenian. Copyright 1998 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 22 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 479-95

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:22:y:1998:i:4:p:479-95

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Cited by:
  1. Marjolein Caniƫls & Henny Romijn, 2003. "SME Clusters, Acquisition of Technological Capabilities and Development: Concepts, Practice and Policy Lessons," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 187-210, September.
  2. Raspe, Otto & van Oort, Frank G., 2011. "Firm heterogeneity, productivity and spatially bounded knowledge externalities," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 38-47, March.
  3. Nicolai J. Foss, 1997. "Equilibrium vs Evolution in the Resource-Based Perspective The Conflicting Legacies of Demsetz and Penrose," DRUID Working Papers 97-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  4. Javier Revilla Diez & Matthias Kiese, 2006. "Scaling Innovation in South East Asia: Empirical Evidence from Singapore, Penang (Malaysia) and Bangkok," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(9), pages 1005-1023.
  5. Viano Francesca Lidia, 2002. "Guesswork and knowledge in evolutionary economics: verblen revisited," CESMEP Working Papers 200205, University of Turin.
  6. Raspe, Otto & van Oort, Frank, 2008. "Firm Growth and Localized Knowledge Externalities," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 38(2).
  7. Raina, Rajeswari S., 2003. "Disciplines, institutions and organizations: impact assessments in context," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 185-211, November.
  8. Fikret Adaman & Pat Devine, 2002. "A Reconsideration of the Theory of Entrepreneurship: A participatory approach," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 329-355.
  9. Teppo Felin & Nicolai J. Foss, 2004. "Organizational Routines A Sceptical Look," DRUID Working Papers 04-13, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.

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