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The Problem with Dispersed Knowledge: Firms in Theory and Practice

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  • Minkler, Alanson P

Abstract

In this paper, the author shows how the dispersed knowledge workers possess poses problems for both firms and economists' theories of the firm. For firms, continued adherence to old style mass production techniques when market demand changes rapidly is proving to be inadequate. For economists, dispersed knowledge causes structural uncertainty, which in turn implies that agency, transaction-cost, and Austrian analyses of the firm are inadequate. In contrast, the author suggests how the 'capabilities' theory of the firm could incorporate dispersed knowledge to account for organizational innovations that redistribute decision-making within the firm. Copyright 1993 by WWZ and Helbing & Lichtenhahn Verlag AG

Suggested Citation

  • Minkler, Alanson P, 1993. "The Problem with Dispersed Knowledge: Firms in Theory and Practice," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 569-587.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:46:y:1993:i:4:p:569-87
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Markus C. Becker, 2012. "Distributed Knowledge and its Coordination," Chapters,in: Handbook of Knowledge and Economics, chapter 20 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Minkler, Lanse, 2004. "Shirking and motivations in firms: survey evidence on worker attitudes," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 863-884, June.
    3. Nicolai J. Foss, 1996. "Austrian and Post-Marshallian EconomicsThe Bridging Work of George Richardson," DRUID Working Papers 96-4, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    4. Nicolai J. Foss & Peter G. Klein, 2010. "Austrian Economics and the Theory of the Firm," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics, chapter 27 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Cayer, Mario & Minkler, Lanse, 1998. "Dualism, dialogue and organizations: Reflections on organizational transformation and labor-managed firms," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 53-77.
    6. Foss Kirsten & Foss Nicolai & Klein Peter G. & Klein Sandra K., 2002. "Heterogeneous Capital, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Organization," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-20, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Lanse Minkler, 2003. "Managing Moral Motivations," Working papers 2003-06, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    9. Ehab M. Abou Aish & Wael A. Kortam & Salah S. Hassan, 2008. "Using Agency Theory in Understanding Switching Behavior in B2B Service Industries “I”," Working Papers 6, The German University in Cairo, Faculty of Management Technology.
    10. Wolfgang Kerber & Simonetta Vezzoso, 2004. "EU Competition Policy, Vertical Restraints, and Innovation: An Analysis from an Evolutionary Perspective," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200414, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    11. Diego Iribarren, 2003. "From Economic Activity to Understanding Spaces," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0303001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Markus C. Becker & Francesco Zirpoli, 2003. "Organising new product development Knowledge hollowing-out and knowledge integration," DRUID Working Papers 03-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    13. Diego Iribarren, 2003. "From Economic Activity to Understanding Spaces," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2003_01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    14. Nathalie Lazaric & Alain Raybaut, 2007. "Knowledge, Hierarchy and incentives: Why human resource policy and trust matter," Post-Print hal-00453292, HAL.
    15. Putterman, Louis, 1995. "Markets, hierarchies, and information: On a paradox in the economics of organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 373-390, May.
    16. Diego Iribarren, 2003. "From Economic Activity to Understanding Spaces," Econometrics 0303008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Loasby, Brian J., 1998. "The organisation of capabilities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 139-160, April.
    18. Richard P. Adelstein, 2003. "Knowledge and Power in the Mechanical Firm: Planning for Profit in Austrian Perspective," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2005-015, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    19. Nicolai J. Foss & Jens Frøslev Christensen, 1996. "A Process Approach to Corporate Coherence," DRUID Working Papers 96-7, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    20. Rost, Katja & Graetzer, Gitte, 2014. "Multinational Organizations as Rule-following Bureaucracies — The Example of Catholic Orders," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 290-311.
    21. Richard Adelstein, 2005. "Knowledge and Power in the Mechanical Firm: Planning for Profit in Austrian Perpsective," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 55-82, January.

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