A Neo-Weberian Theory of the Firm
In the field of organization studies, two types of theories of the firm exist: â€œwhyâ€ and â€œhowâ€ theories. â€œWhyâ€ theories use the instrument of comparative analysis to explain why firms exist despite various institutional alternatives. â€œHowâ€ theories, in contrast, employ intra-organizational perspectives to explore how firms meaningfully connect the actions of many interdependently operating individuals to collective outcomes. Since both theories are complements rather than substitutes, the field of organization studies would benefit from the development of a parsimonious theory that integrates â€œwhyâ€ and â€œhowâ€ perspectives. It is argued that Max Weberâ€™s writings on bureaucracy, and especially his focus on the organization as a set of decision rules (UrteilsgrÃ¼nde), provide an exceptionally meaningful conceptual background structure for such a theory. The paper demonstrates that a Neo-Weberian, decision rule-based theory of the firm can simultaneously provide reasons for the existence of the firm and explore the nature of coordination and cooperation within the firm itself.
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