Inertia and Incentives: Bridging Organizational Economics and Organizational Theory
Organizational theorists have long acknowledged the importance of the formal and informal incentives facing a firm%u2019s employees, stressing that the political economy of a firm plays a major role in shaping organizational life and firm behavior. Yet the detailed study of incentive systems has traditionally been left in the hands of (organizational) economists, with most organizational theorists focusing their attention on critical problems in culture, network structure, framing and so on -- in essence, the social context in which economics and incentive systems are embedded. We argue that this separation of domains is problematic. The economics literature, for example, is unable to explain why organizations should find it difficult to change incentive structures in the face of environmental change, while the organizational literature focuses heavily on the role of inertia as sources of organizational rigidity. Drawing on recent research on incentives in organizational economics and on cognition in organizational theory, we build a framework for the analysis of incentives that highlights the ways in which incentives and cognition -- while being analytically distinct concepts -- are phenomenologically deeply intertwined. We suggest that incentives and cognition coevolve so that organizational competencies or routines are as much about building knowledge of %u201Cwhat should be rewarded%u201D as they are about %u201Cwhat should be done.%u201D
|Date of creation:||Dec 2005|
|Publication status:||published as Henderson, Rebecca and Sarah Kaplan. "Inertia an dIncentives: Bridging Organizational Economics and Organizational Theory." Organization Science 16, 5 (Sept-Oct 2005): 509-521.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Christensen, Clayton M. & Rosenbloom, Richard S., 1995. "Explaining the attacker's advantage: Technological paradigms, organizational dynamics, and the value network," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 233-257, March.
- Holmstrom, Bengt, 1989. "Agency costs and innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 305-327, December.
- Chesbrough, Henry W, 1999. "The Organizational Impact of Technological Change: A Comparative Theory of National Institutional Factors," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 447-485, September.
- Jonathan Levin, 2003.
"Relational Incentive Contracts,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 835-857, June.
- Jonathan Levin, 2000. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Working Papers 01002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- Giovanni Dosi & Daniel A. Levinthal & Luigi Marengo, 2003. "Bridging contested terrain: linking incentive-based and learning perspectives on organizational evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 413-436, April.
- Giovanni Dosi & Daniel Levinthal & Luigi Marengo, 2001. "Bridging Contested Terrain: Linking Incentive-Based and Learning Perspectives on Organizational Evolution," LEM Papers Series 2001/20, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- Hubert Gatignon & Michael L. Tushman & Wendy Smith & Philip Anderson, 2002. "A Structural Approach to Assessing Innovation: Construct Development of Innovation Locus, Type, and Characteristics," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(9), pages 1103-1122, September.
- Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Performance Pay and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Block, Zenas & Ornati, Oscar A., 1987. "Compensating corporate venture managers," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 41-51.
- Garud, Raghu & Karnoe, Peter, 2003. "Bricolage versus breakthrough: distributed and embedded agency in technology entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 277-300, February.
- Holmström, Bengt, 1989. "Agency Costs and Innovation," Working Paper Series 214, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2001. "Bringing the Market inside the Firm?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 212-218, May.
- Cooper, Arnold C. & Schendel, Dan, 1976. "Strategic responses to technological threats," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 61-69, February.
- Tripsas, Mary, 1997. "Surviving Radical Technological Change through Dynamic Capability: Evidence from the Typesetter Industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 341-377, March.
- Nicolai J. Foss, 2001. "Selective Intervention and Internal HybridsInterpreting and Learning from the Rise and Decline of the Oticon Spaghetti Organization," DRUID Working Papers 01-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)