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Adaptation in Food Networks: theoretical framework and empirical evidences

Author

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  • Martino, Gaetano
  • Frascarelli, Angelo

Abstract

The objective of the paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the governance of the food networks focusing on two related aspect: the integration among the agents and the adaptation in the face of emerging disturbances. Adaptation is a central problem of economic organisations (Williamson, 1985, 1991), and its conceptualisation is integrated within complementary theoretical perspectives. Arruñada, Garicano & Vàzquez (2005) posit that the assignment of decision rights in long-term relationships provides an opportunity to reduce the associated bargaining costs. Ménard (2004, 2006) offers a generalisation of the adaptation concept for the class of hybrid governance structures. Gibbon (2005) subsumes the theme of adaptation in a complex theoretical structure by framing four elemental theories of the firm. Among them, the adaptation theory asks whether integration or non-integration better facilitates ‘adaptive, sequential decision making’ in the sense of Williamson (Gibbon, 2005, p. 205). The paper aims at addressing the problem on what are the role of the adaptation processes in the implementation of sustainable strategies in Food Networks. After having elaborated and presented the theoretical framework, the paper illustrates and discusses seven cases of governance agreement. Four cases concern with agreement arranged at the Italian National level, three cases regard regional level Food Networks. Beyond the differences in the institutional environments, the cases also differ because of the degree of integration. The field research was carried out by documents analysis and interviews. The focus was on the identification of the five stages mentioned and on the classification of the decision rights the agreements allocated between the parties. The paper contributes to the literature by corroborating the theoretical hypothesis (Gibbons, 2005; Wu, 2006) and providing empirical information about the management of Food Networks in the face of emerging disturbances in critical fields: sustainability, quality systems and innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Martino, Gaetano & Frascarelli, Angelo, 2012. "Adaptation in Food Networks: theoretical framework and empirical evidences," MPRA Paper 37600, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37600
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/37600/1/MPRA_paper_37600.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wu, Steven Y., 2006. "Contract theory and agricultural policy analysis: a discussion and survey of recent developments," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(4), December.
    2. Oliver E. Williamson, 2005. "The Economics of Governance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 1-18, May.
    3. Arruñada Benito & Garicano Luis & Vázquez Luis, 2005. "Completing Contracts Ex Post: How Car Manufacturers Manage Car Dealers," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 149-173, April.
    4. Robert Gibbons, 2010. "Transaction-Cost Economics: Past, Present, and Future?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(2), pages 263-288, June.
    5. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
    6. repec:eee:jouret:v:86:y:2010:i:3:p:284-290 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
    8. repec:mes:jeciss:v:30:y:1996:i:4:p:1212-1216 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Steven White, 2005. "Cooperation Costs, Governance Choice and Alliance Evolution," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(7), pages 1383-1412, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adaptation; uncertainty; transaction costs; food network; integration;

    JEL classification:

    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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