Author Archive

I’ll Be the Terror Bird and You Can Be the Ostrich

| Steven Postrel |

In the July 2007 AMR, there is an interesting article by Matthew Cronin and Laurie Weingart that looks at “representational gaps” between differentiated specialists working together on problems like product development. They employ a Carnegie School approach and postulate that these gaps will tend to hinder joint problem solving. Different specialties conceptualize goals and constraints differently, they may have trouble communicating, and so on. (more…)

10 August 2007 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

Incoherence Is Bad For You but Good For Us

| Steven Postrel |

I just finished reading David Hull’s remarkable Science as a Process (1988), and was struck by one of his arguments. One of his claims (not his major thesis) is that while each scientist strives to make his own work coherent and internally consistent, overall progress only occurs because the views of every school of thought and every discipline are somewhat incoherent. (more…)

4 August 2007 at 4:21 pm 3 comments

Design Puzzles II

| Steven Postrel |

When I last posted on whether apparent inefficiencies in the design of objects and institutions were real opportunities or only mirages, there were many well-informed and thoughtful comments. One of the issues I addressed was the use of multiple queues at checkout counters, despite their theoretical inferiority to a single queue where the next available checker gets the next customer in line. (more…)

2 July 2007 at 4:33 pm 5 comments

Do We Need a Project Project?

| Steven Postrel |

A peculiar fact about business schools (at least in the USA) is that project management is not part of the regular MBA curriculum. Why is this peculiar? Only because a huge percentage of the work managers do is organized into projects, the success or failure of strategies often rests on the quality of execution of projects, and many of the principles and techniques of good project management are not immediately obvious. But hey, if anyone needs to know about this trivial stuff they can always go to a two-day workshop and get a certificate (probably from an engineering department). (more…)

6 June 2007 at 1:17 am 18 comments

Design Puzzles

| Steven Postrel |

So you’ve purchased your coffee and chosen to sit at one of those round outdoor tables. As you lean on the table to write comments on a paper, it rocks annoyingly, possibly spilling some of your coffee. You try moving the table slightly on the uneven pavement, hoping to stumble into a stable configuration for its four feet, but several attempts fail. Eventually you resort to shimming one of the table feet with a piece of folded up paper, or a stack of sweetener packets, and this creates at least a metastable condition. Looking around, you notice that many other tables have similar combat repairs, so that the cafe looks like a furniture trauma ward. (more…)

28 March 2007 at 2:54 pm 49 comments

Paging the Pigou People

| Steven Postrel |

It looks like the rent-seekers at US-CAP are way ahead of the Pigou Club on CO2 restriction policy. So it looks like I’ll be able to oppose CO2 restriction not just on its own merits but because the policy instrument will be inferior.

21 March 2007 at 2:24 pm 2 comments

Utility Strategy

| Steven Postrel |

Skeleton of a Harvard Business Review article:

How do you get sustainable advantage in a service business today? One approach: Become a new-wave utility. Think about Google or Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, etc. on the Internet; think about UPS or FedEx, Grainger, Ryder, Public Storage in logistics; think about McDonald’s, Starbucks, 7-Eleven, in convenience food consumption. (more…)

19 March 2007 at 4:57 pm 5 comments

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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).