We Got a Contract, We Got a Contract!!

6 May 2006 at 7:35 am 4 comments

| Nicolai Foss |

Peter and I have been working for some time on an idea for a book volume, entitled The Theory of the Firm: Emergence, Synthesis, Challenges, and New Directions.

There  are several textbooks that present or make extensive use of the theory of the firm (e.g., Paul Milgrom and John Roberts, Economics, Organization, and Management; George Hendrikse, Economics and Management of Organizations; James Brickley, Clifford W. Smith, and William Zimmerman, Managerial Economics and Organizational Architecture; etc.). There are also lots of readers and reference collections (e.g., Louis Putterman, The Economic Nature of the Firm and Jay Barney and William Ouchi, Organizational Economics).

There is no need for yet another textbook or reader/reference collection.  What the literature lacks, however, is a critical synthesis of the various streams in the theory of the firm, one that places these streams in a historical and methodological context, discusses the various controversies that have stimulated internal development in the theory of the firm, and assesses the many critiques that have been leveled at the theory by scholars in sociology, psychology and management. 

Peter and I think we can write such a book. Luckily, Cambridge University Press agrees with us, and will offer a contract. 

Unlike the collections, the book we propose is designed as a comprehensive, critical assessment of many points of view, highlighting important debates and critiques, both internal and external, and reviewing the latest applications and empirical evidence as well as the core theoretical contributions.  The proposed volume is more explicit and detailed in its treatment of the many different streams of thought that together constitute the modern theory of the firm than any other book-length contribution.  Moreover, it is written as a treatise, not a textbook; suitable for classroom use, yet more detailed, more nuanced, and more original than a textbook.

Finally, while both Peter and I are quite sympathetic to, and have contributed to, the modern theory of the firm in what may broadly be called its “new institutional economics” manifestation (e.g., Williamsonian transaction cost economics), we also lean toward more heterodox perspectives (particularly knowledge-based and Austrian approaches to the firm).  In sum, we hope to offer a balanced assessment of the modern theory of the firm, written neither by acolytes nor completely “outside” critics.  We expect to have the manuscript by the end of 2007.

Here is the table of contents:

Chapter 1: Introduction


Chapter 2: The Emergence of the Theory of the Firm

Chapter 3:  Internal Controversies

Chapter 4: Applications of the Theory of the Firm

Chapter 5: Empirical Evidence on the Theory of the Firm


Chapter 6:      Cognitive and Behavioural Issues in the Theory of the Firm

Chapter 7:      Firm Heterogeneity, Evolution, and Capabilities

Chapter 8:      Entrepreneurship and the Theory of the Firm

Chapter 9:      Towards a New Synthesis?

We will post individual chapters on this blog as they emerge.

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Entrepreneurship, Management Theory, Methods/Methodology/Theory of Science, Strategic Management, Teaching, Theory of the Firm.

Among the Euro-weenies Market-Based Management

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JC  |  6 May 2006 at 9:15 am

    Hey guys, congrats. This could be a major contribution and open up some very important alternative discourses.

  • 2. Joe Mahoney  |  5 July 2007 at 10:31 am

    How is your book coming along?

  • 3. JC  |  5 July 2007 at 11:32 am

    Hi Jo,

    Their book or mine?

  • 4. Peter Klein  |  6 July 2007 at 10:35 am

    Our volume is coming along nicely, though we have changed the focus slightly to emphasize the relationship between the theory of the firm and the theory of entrepreneurship. (The title will probably change as well.) Look for the first chapter to be posted here in the near future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Nicolai J. Foss | home | posts
Peter G. Klein | home | posts
Richard Langlois | home | posts
Lasse B. Lien | home | posts


Former Guests | posts


Recent Posts



Our Recent Books

Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).