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The Study of Organizations and Evolving Organizational Forms through History: Reflections from the Late Medieval Family Firm

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  • Greif, Avner

Abstract

Despite the diversity of economic environments and organizations utilized throughout history, historical studies of organizations and organizational innovations, by and large, have concentrated on the very recent past. Arguably, this reflects the perception that historical records are not rich enough, with respect to the more remote past, and organizational problems in past economics are irrelevant to contemporary organizational analysis. This paper combines historical information and game theory to demonstrate that the study of past organizations is both feasible and relevant. Specifically, it presents a game theoretical analysis of the factors that led to the emergence of the late medieval family firm in the Latin, rather than the Muslim, world. Furthermore, it explores various organizational innovations related to the family firm, evaluating their sources and the ability to combine game theory and evolutionary economics for the study of organizational evolution. Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Industrial & Corporate Change.

Volume (Year): 5 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 473-501

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Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:5:y:1996:i:2:p:473-501

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Cited by:
  1. Geoffrey Hodgson, 2002. "The Legal Nature of the Firm and the Myth of the Firm-Market Hybrid," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 37-60.
  2. Avner Greif, 2008. "Contract Enforcement and Institutions among the Maghribi Traders: Refuting Edwards and Ogilvie," CESifo Working Paper Series 2350, CESifo Group Munich.

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