We Got a Contract, We Got a Contract!!
| 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.