Make-Or-Buy Theories: Where Do We Stand?
The aim of this paper is to discuss the state-of-the art and the directions for research on the make-orbuy problem. After thirty years of research efforts, we now have numerous contributions explaining different aspects of the nature and existence of the firm. The search for a unified theory, however, still remains, at a theoretical level, a challenge. The task is not easy, perhaps because the theory of the firm develops along two different strands, one analyzing the factors influencing the boundaries, and the other one relating to the internal structure; or because, even inside the same research strand, it is not really easy to grasp the similarities and differences between contributions that have followed one another in rapid succession over the last few years. This paper examines the theories concerning the make-or-buy problem, focusing on recent contributions that have tried to develop a unified framework and emphasizes the role of incomplete contracts as a common and significant trait of the theories discussed
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