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A Dual Theory of the Firm Between Transactions and Competences : Conceptual Analysis and Empirical Considerations

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  • Patrick Cohendet
  • Patrick Llerena

Abstract

[fre] L'objectif de cette contribution est de prolonger la réflexion de Keith Pavitt sur la stratégie des firmes qui privilégie l'idée selon laquelle une bonne interprétation du mouvement stratégique de la technologie vers le marché suppose une compréhension claire de la distinction entre « compétence » et « pratique ». Keith Pavitt (1998), ainsi que Nelson (1904) ont distingué deux éléments principaux dans la connaissance spécifique des firmes: « a body of understanding » fondé sur les compétences accumulées dans un domaine technologique particulier, et « a body of practice » qui consiste essentiellement en la connaissance organisationnelle qui relie les compétences technologiques avec un artefact commercial mis sur le marché avec succès. Dans cette perspective, en s'appuyant sur l'approche de management stratégique de la firme, cette contribution argumente que la division de la connaissance (qui distribue des capacités d'interprétation entre acteurs) tend à précéder la division du travail (qui distribue les activités entre les acteurs), et que les firmes procèdent à des décisions suivant un ordre lexicographique. Dans un premier temps elles décident des domaines particuliers de connaissance dans lesquels elles vont construire leurs avantages spécifiques. Ensuite, une fois cette étape cognitive accomplie, elles peuvent alors déterminer la nature des activités requises pour soutenir les domaines stratégiques de connaissance qu'elles ont choisis. La dernière partie de la contribution s'efforce de tirer les conséquences de ce cadre théorique pour mener à bien des travaux empiriques. [eng] This contribution aims at extending Pavitt's view of a strategic vision of the firm that captures the idea that moving from technology to market requires an understanding of "competence" and "practice". Keith Pavitt's (1998), following Nelson (1994) distinguished two complementary elements in firms' specific knowledge: A "body of understanding" based on competences in specific technological fields, and a "body of practice", consisting largely of organizational knowledge that links a body of understanding with a commercial successful artefact. Following the strategic-management approaches of the firm, we extend Pavitt's vision and posit that the division of knowledge (which distributes interpretative capabilities between actors) tends to precede the division of labour (which distributes activities between those actors) and that firms make ordered decisions regarding core and non core activities. First, firms decide in what specific fields of knowledge they will build their competitive advantages. Then, once this cognitive decision is taken, they can determine the activities to be undertaken in order to sustain the fields of knowledge they have chosen. The last part of the contribution examines the consequences of this theoretical framework for empirical studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Cohendet & Patrick Llerena, 2005. "A Dual Theory of the Firm Between Transactions and Competences : Conceptual Analysis and Empirical Considerations," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 110(1), pages 175-198.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:recind:rei_0154-3229_2005_num_110_1_3078
    DOI: 10.3406/rei.2005.3078
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rei.2005.3078
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kirsten BURKHARDT, 2014. "Le rôle des sociétés de capital-investissement dans la formation d’alliances dans une approche cognitive," Working Papers CREGO 1140501, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    2. Rémy Guichardaz & Laurent Bach & Julien Penin, 2016. "Music industry intermediation in the digital era and the resilience of the majors’ oligopoly: The role of transactional capabilities," Working Papers of BETA 2016-47, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    3. Cohendet Patrick & Llerena Patrick & Simon Laurent, 2014. "The Routinization of Creativity: Lessons from the Case of a Video-game Creative Powerhouse," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(2-3), pages 120-141, April.

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