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The (dis-)embedded firm: Complex structure and dynamics in inter-firm relations. Adding institutionalization as a Veblenian dimension to the Coase-Williamson approach – An emerging triangular organizational space

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  • Elsner, Wolfram
  • Schwardt, Henning

Abstract

The increasing complexity of the environment of firms, of strategic interaction, and emergent informal institutional network cooperation, seems to outreach the traditional Coase-Williamson transaction-cost framework with its market-hierarchy dichotomy. We propose to take the complexity of nowadays’ firm ecologies more serious and integrate an institutional dimension to enhance the analysis of real-world organizational forms and the theory of the firm. This institutional dimension is conceptualized as an “OIE” (Veblenian) “institutional dichotomy” that ranges between “instrumental” cooperative networking and “ceremonial encapsulation” (lock-in). Thus, a more comprehensive two-dimensional, particularly triangular, organizational space is drafted, which can better map the numerous and diverse forms of production and innovation systems, including their emergence as spatial clusters and corporate networks. The additional dimension integrates institutionalized network cooperation as “instrumental problem-solving”, vs. power and status seeking (by both large hierarchies and fiercely rivalling market participants) as “ceremonial dominance”. In addition to ideal market and hierarchy, it provides the ideal solution of institutionalized network cooperation, learned in recurrent social-dilemma problems, as a third vanishing point and corner. The resulting Organizational Triangle is considered a heuristic for inter-firm organizational research. As a check of its usefulness, this device is applied to recent developments in the global corporate economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Elsner, Wolfram & Schwardt, Henning, 2015. "The (dis-)embedded firm: Complex structure and dynamics in inter-firm relations. Adding institutionalization as a Veblenian dimension to the Coase-Williamson approach – An emerging triangular organiza," MPRA Paper 67193, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:67193
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Theory of the firm; direct interdependence/strategic interaction; institutional emergence/institutionalized cooperation; Coase/Williamson; embeddedness; Veblenian institutional dichotomy; instrumental/ceremonial institutional aspects; spatial clusters/firm networks; open innovation; organizational triangle;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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