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Shadow of the contract: how contract structure shapes inter-firm dispute resolution

  • Lumineau, Fabrice
  • Malhotra, Deepak

This paper investigates how contract structure influences inter-firm dispute resolution processes and outcomes by examining a unique dataset consisting of over 150,000 pages of documents relating to 102 business disputes. We find that the level of contract detail affects the type of dispute resolution approach that is adopted when conflict arises, and that different approaches are associated with different costs for resolving the dispute. We also find that the effect of contract choice on dispute resolution approach is moderated by the degree of coordination required in the relationship, and that the effect of dispute approach on costs is moderated by the degree of power asymmetry between the parties. Thus, even after controlling for various attributes of the exchange relationship and the dispute, the choice of contracting structure has important strategic implications.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38359/1/MPRA_paper_38359.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38359.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38359
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  1. William G. Ouchi, 1979. "A Conceptual Framework for the Design of Organizational Control Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(9), pages 833-848, September.
  2. Lyons, Bruce R & Mehta, Judith, 1997. "Contracts, Opportunism and Trust: Self-Interest and Social Orientation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 239-57, March.
  3. Tiziana Casciaro, 2003. "Determinants of governance structure in alliances: the role of strategic, task and partner uncertainties," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(6), pages 1223-1251, December.
  4. Saussier, Stephane, 2000. "Transaction costs and contractual incompleteness: the case of Electricite de France," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 189-206, June.
  5. Xiaohua Lin & Richard Germain, 1998. "Sustaining Satisfactory Joint Venture Relationships: The Role of Conflict Resolution Strategy," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 29(1), pages 179-196, March.
  6. Reuer, Jeffrey J. & Arino, Africa & Mellewigt, Thomas, 2006. "Entrepreneurial alliances as contractual forms," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 306-325, May.
  7. Vlaar, P.W.L. & van den Bosch, F.A.J., 2006. "Coping with Problems of Understanding in Interorganizational Relationships: Using Formalization as a Means to make Sense," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2006-034-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  9. Ness, Havard & Haugland, Sven A., 2005. "The evolution of governance mechanisms and negotiation strategies in fixed-duration interfirm relationships," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 58(9), pages 1226-1239, September.
  10. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1998. "Incomplete Contracts and Strategic Ambiguity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 902-32, September.
  11. Deeds, David L. & Hill, Charles W. L., 1999. "An examination of opportunistic action within research alliances: Evidence from the biotechnology industry," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 141-163, March.
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