Call for Papers: Org Economics and Org Capabilities
| Nicolai Foss |
The relation between organizational economics (agency theory, TCE, property rights theory, team theory) and the organizational capabilities view has often been debated on O&M. Perhaps not surprising, as at least three out of the four current O&M bloggers have frequently covered this theme in their research, Dick Langlois writing about the relation between these ideas at least as early as 1984 (here), my first publication on the subject appearing in 1993 (here), and Peter’s first paper on it appearing in 1996 (here). I think we hold different views on the nature of the relation between organizational economics and capabilities ideas. I increasingly think of ideas on transaction costs, property rights etc. as primary to, and more fundamental than, notions of capabilities (e.g., see this paper, forthcoming in Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal). Dick, on the other hand, seems to hold the opposite view.
Such differences are even more pronounced in the strategy and organization fields. Some scholars reject organizational economic altogether (Sid Winter seems close to that position). Others argue that organizational economics and the organizational economics view are complementary in an additive sense: They deal with different, yet complementary issues, so that, for example, the organizational capabilities view tells us which assets/resources we need, organizational economics providing insight in the actual organization of those assets/resources (this seems to be the current mainstream view). Some scholars go further, and argue that there is a real scope for integrating, for example, ideas on localized knowledge and learning from the capabilities view with transaction cost economics (e.g., this paper). In fact, overall there seems to have been some movement from the i initial polarized positions of 10-15 years to today’s more integrative stance.
In order to report advances in research on the relation between organizational economics and the organizational capabilities view, Nick Argyres, Teppo Felin, Todd Zenger and I will edit a special issue of Organization Science on “Organizational Economics and Organizational Capabilities: From Opposition and Complementarity to Real Integration.” Papers which can be both theoretical (or, for the US audience, “conceptual”) and empirical, must be submitted between Oct. 1 and Oct. 30 2009. The Call for Papers is here (scroll down a bit). The Call contains a long list of possible themes for papers, but feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or any of the other editors) if you are in doubt whether your paper may make a fit with the SI.