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Capabilities and the Theory of the Firm

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  • Nicolai J. Foss

Abstract

The recent decade has witnessed a strong expansion of work on the firm, both from a capabilities perspective and from a contractual perspective. These two bodies of theories are often thought to be fundamentally different, because their domains of applications are different (knowledge-accumulation vs contracts and incentives). However, we need to integrate propositions from capabilities perspectives with ideas about economic organization (markets, hybrids, firms). This is because only a more unified theory will allow us to understand such issues as the dynamics of the modern corporation, and, more topically, the costs and benefits of outsourcing. I discuss the relations between these two bodies of theories. It is possible to argue in favor of a relation of complementarity between the two and pursue a research strategy on this basis. However, it is also possible two claim that they are rivals. Along this line, it is argued that the capabilities perspective contains propositions about economic organization that are not to be found within the modern Coasian approach to economic organization, and thus may be seen as a distinct emerging perspective on economic organization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 96-8.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:96-8

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Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

Related research

Keywords: Economic organization; capability; tacit knowledge;

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References

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  7. Rabin, Matthew, 1991. "Information and the Control of Productive Assets," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6b7492v1, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Nicolai J. Foss, 1994. "Why transaction cost economics needs evolutionary economics," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 68(1), pages 7-26.
  9. Richardson, G B, 1972. "The Organisation of Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 883-96, September.
  10. Foss, Nicolai Juul, 1993. "Theories of the Firm: Contractual and Competence Perspectives," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 127-44, May.
  11. Nicolai J. Foss, 1996. "Firms, Incomplete Contracts and Organizational Learning," DRUID Working Papers 96-2, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  12. Cheung, Steven N S, 1983. "The Contractual Nature of the Firm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-21, April.
  13. Teece, David J., 1982. "Towards an economic theory of the multiproduct firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 39-63, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. St-Amant, Gilles & Renard, Laurent & Ben Dhaou, Soumaya, 2006. "Proposition d'une classification de l'approche basée sur les ressources," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/2809, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Jukka Kaisla, 1998. "The Market Process and the Emergence of the Firm Some Indications of Entrepreneurship Under Genuine uncertainty," DRUID Working Papers 98-17, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  3. Gamal Atallah, 2002. "Production Technology, Information Technology, and Vertical Integration under Asymmetric Information," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-32, CIRANO.
  4. Frédéric MAZAUD (LEREPS-GRES) & Marie LAGASSE (AIRBUS-FRANCE), 2007. "Vertical sub-contracting relationships strategy, the Airbus First-tier suppliers\' coordination," Cahiers du GRES 2007-02, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
  5. Richard N. Langlois & Nicolai J. Foss, 1996. "Capabilities and Governance the Rebirth of Production in the Theory of Economic Organization," Working papers 1996-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  6. Nassreddine Garoui & Anis Jarboui, 2012. "Cognitive Approach of Corporate Governance A Visualization Test of Mental models with Cognitive Mapping Technique," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 15(43), pages 61-96, March.
  7. Gérard Charreaux, 2001. "Variation sur le thème 'A la recherche de nouvelles fondations pour la finance et la gouvernance d'entreprise'," Working Papers FARGO 011201, Université de Bourgogne - Crego EA 7317/Fargo (Research center in Finance,organizational ARchitecture and GOvernance), revised Jul 2002.
  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. Keld Laursen, 1998. "Do Export and Technological Specialisation Patterns Co-evolve in Terms of Convergence or Divergence? Evidence From 19 OECD Countries, 1971-1991," DRUID Working Papers 98-18, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  10. Dieter Ernst, 1999. "Responses to the Crisis Constraints to a Rapid Trade Adjustment in East Asia�s Electronics Industry," DRUID Working Papers 99-2, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  11. Bengt-Åke Lundvall & Frank Skov Kristensen, 1997. "Organisational Change, Innovation and Human Resource Development as a Response to Increased Competition," DRUID Working Papers 97-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  12. Bougrain, Frederic & Haudeville, Bernard, 2002. "Innovation, collaboration and SMEs internal research capacities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 735-747, July.
  13. Kirsten Foss & Nicolai J. Foss, 1999. "Organizing Economic Experiments The Role of Firms," DRUID Working Papers 99-5, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  14. Santangelo, Grazia D., 2001. "The impact of the information and communications technology revolution on the internationalisation of corporate technology," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 701-726, December.
  15. Bull, Lyndall & Ferguson, Ian, 2006. "Factors influencing the success of wood product innovations in Australia and New Zealand," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(7), pages 742-750, October.
  16. Frederic Bougrain, 1998. "Impact of regional technology policy on local economic development," ERSA conference papers ersa98p211, European Regional Science Association.

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