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An organizational learning perspective on contract design

  • Lumineau, Fabrice
  • Frechet, Marc
  • Puthod, Dominique

The contracting process is a crucial step in alliance development and its success. However, the existing literature reveals surprisingly little investigation into how organizational learning relates to the process of contract making. We therefore conducted an in-depth longitudinal study of the alliance contracting process in the animated film industry. First, our findings suggest that during the contracting process, firms can learn about the way to deal with the contracting process, about themselves and their partner, and about the transaction features. Second, the case analysis indicates a combination of experiential, vicarious, and inferential learning mechanisms. Combining these insights into the objects and the mechanisms of learning during the contracting process, we discuss how contracting and learning processes are related and analyze the role of the contracting process in supporting organizational learning. The findings show that the drafting of contractual clauses fosters learning and, in turn, this learning triggers new contractual negotiations. Hence we suggest that the alignment between transaction features and the choice of contractual governance results from learning during the contracting process. We then propose avenues for future research.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38360.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38360
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  1. 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.
  2. Dekker, Henri C., 2004. "Control of inter-organizational relationships: evidence on appropriation concerns and coordination requirements," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 27-49, January.
  3. Foss, Nicolai J., 2003. "Bounded rationality in the economics of organization: "Much cited and little used"," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 245-264, April.
  4. Vlaar, P.W.L. & van den Bosch, F.A.J. & Volberda, H.W., 2006. "On the Evolution of Trust, Distrust, and Formal Coordination and Control in Interorganizational Relationships: Towards an Integrative Framework," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2006-035-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.
  5. Michael D. Ryall & Rachelle C. Sampson, 2009. "Formal Contracts in the Presence of Relational Enforcement Mechanisms: Evidence from Technology Development Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(6), pages 906-925, June.
  6. Lumineau, Fabrice & Malhotra, Deepak, 2011. "Shadow of the contract: how contract structure shapes inter-firm dispute resolution," MPRA Paper 38359, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Malhotra, Deepak & Lumineau, Fabrice, 2011. "Trust and collaboration in the aftermath of conflict: the effects of contract structure," MPRA Paper 38358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. repec:dgr:tuecis:0318 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Keith J. Crocker & Scott E. Masten, 1988. "Mitigating Contractual Hazards: Unilateral Options and Contract Length," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 327-343, Autumn.
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