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Towards Reconciling Transaction Cost Economics and the Knowledge-based View of the Firm: The Context of Interfirm Collaborations

  • Bruce Heiman
  • Jack Nickerson
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    This paper presents a set of relationships that have the potential to reconcile the dispute between the knowledge-based view of the firm (KBV) and transaction cost economics (TCE). Several KBV scholars have argued that governance choice need rely only on bounded rationality and not on opportunism where TCE scholars maintain that both behavioural assumptions are needed to explain governance choice.We help to resolve part of the debate by developing an extension ofTCE to encompass certain knowledge-based attributes of transactions.We argue that high-levels of two knowledge transfer attributes - knowledge tacitness or problem solving complexity - lead to the adoption of the knowledge management practices - high-bandwidth channels or idiosyncratic communication codes - to economize on the cognitive limitations of man. It is these knowledge management practices that generate contracting hazards for whichTCE, and its attendant concern about opportunism, predicts equity-based collaborations are superior to non-equity-based collaborations.The linkages between knowledge transfer attributes, knowledge management practices, and governance choice add value via implications for managers which are not readily apparent from either theory alone.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13571510110103001
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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Journal of the Economics of Business.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 97-116

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:9:y:2002:i:1:p:97-116
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    1. Riordan, Michael H. & Williamson, Oliver E., 1985. "Asset specificity and economic organization," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 365-378, December.
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    4. Teece, David J., 1986. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 285-305, December.
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    7. Winter, Sidney G, 1988. "On Coase, Competence, and the Corporation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 163-80, Spring.
    8. Richard L. Daft & Robert H. Lengel, 1986. "Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 554-571, May.
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    10. Oxley, Joanne E, 1997. "Appropriability Hazards and Governance in Strategic Alliances: A Transaction Cost Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 387-409, October.
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