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There is more to contracts than incompleteness: a review and assessment of empirical research on inter-firm contract design

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  • Marco Furlotti

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Abstract

This paper aims at achieving a greater understanding of how contracts operate in practice through a review of recent empirical literature on inter-firm contract design. Our focus on the structure of contractual agreements differentiates this review from others that dedicated ample coverage also to the antecedents of the decision to contract and of the choice of contracting versus integration. Our framework develops Stinchcombe’s (Organization Theory and Project Management, 1985) hypothesis that contracts are an organizational phenomenon. This allows us to uncover considerable but unevenly distributed evidence on a number of organizational processes formalized in relational contracts, which partially overlap with the processes that are observed in integrated organizations. It also enables us to describe contracts in terms of a larger number of dimensions than is commonly appreciated. The paper summarizes the evidence by proposing a general and tentative framework to guide the design of relational contracts, discusses a number of lingering issues, and outlines directions for further research on contracts as an organizational phenomenon. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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  • Marco Furlotti, 2007. "There is more to contracts than incompleteness: a review and assessment of empirical research on inter-firm contract design," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 11(1), pages 61-99, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:11:y:2007:i:1:p:61-99 DOI: 10.1007/s10997-007-9020-y
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    Cited by:

    1. George Hendrikse & Patrick Hippmann & Josef Windsperger, 2015. "Trust, transaction costs and contractual incompleteness in franchising," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 867-888, April.
    2. Andreas Fili & Jaan Grünberg, 2016. "Business angel post-investment activities: a multi-level review," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(1), pages 89-114, March.

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