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The place of contract in organizational awareness: deconstructing process, market and connectedness

  • Susan V. Scott
  • Carolyn Paris
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    Throughout modern business history, contract has been used as an organizational technology that holds counterparties in formal or legally binding agreements. The proliferation of contract prompted the emergence of professional contract managers who played an important but relatively peripheral role applying situations awareness to the practice of compliance and business relationship management. As more complex organizational forms emerge (outsourcing, supply chains and enterprise IS), contract has come to be seen as a standard coordination device whose foundational assumptions are taken for granted. In this study, we draw attention to two different ways of designing the organizational technology of contract: a process-oriented approach and a market-based valuation of contract. Both approaches promise to provide management information by offering a form of calculability but we argue distort organizational awareness. Our conclusion is that a more developed notion of organizational awareness is needed supported by an alternative conceptualization of contract as a technology or connectedness.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/26700/
    File Function: Open access version.
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    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 26700.

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    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:26700
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    Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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    1. Caglio, Ariela & Ditillo, Angelo, 2008. "A review and discussion of management control in inter-firm relationships: Achievements and future directions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(7-8), pages 865-898.
    2. Power, Michael & Laughlin, Richard, 1996. "Habermas, law and accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 441-465, July.
    3. Bernstein, Lisa, 1992. "Opting Out of the Legal System: Extralegal Contractual Relations in the Diamond Industry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 115-57, January.
    4. Anonymous, 2003. "Competing in the 21st Century," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
    5. Donald MacKenzie, 2006. "An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262134608, June.
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