(with Kirsten Foss and José Vasquez-Vicente) “Tying the Manager’s Hands: Credible Commitment and Firm Organization,” Cambridge Journal of Economics 30: 797-818.
We discuss and examine empirically a firm-level equivalent of the ancient problem of ‘tying the King's hands’, namely how to avoid managerial intervention that is undertaken to reap private benefits but is harmful to overall value creation, that is, ‘managerial opportunism’. The link from managerial intervention to firm-level value-creation is moderated by employee motivation. Thus, intervention in the form of managers overruling employees or reneging on delegation may demotivate employees, particularly when the intervention is perceived as being unfair, undertaken for personal gain, etc. We argue that a number of mechanisms, such as managers staking their personal reputation, employees controlling important assets, strong trade unions, etc. may function as constraints on managerial proclivities to intervene, thus reducing the problem of managerial opportunism. We derive four hypotheses from these ideas, and test them, using path-analysis, on a rich dataset, based on 329 firms in the Spanish food and electric/electronic industries.
(with Teppo Felin) “Individuals and Organizations: Thoughts on a Micro-Foundations Project for Strategic Management,” Research Methodology in Strategy and Management 3: 253-288.
(no abstract available)
“Knowledge and Organization in the Multinational Enterprise: Some Foundational Issues,” Journal of Management and Governance 10, (issue 1) : 3-20.
This paper addresses the interaction of knowledge and organization in IB research, particularly research on the MNC. The argument is advanced that although the MNC literature is quite advanced with respect to its treatment of firm-level knowledge, several closely connected problems remain. In particular, there has been an over-emphasis on knowledge flows and an under-emphasis on knowledge stocks; the micro-foundations of MNC knowledge are unclear; and there is a no clear understanding of the causal relations between knowledge stocks and flows and organizational control. A control theory approach that may resolve some of these problems is then sketched.
(with Kirsten Foss) “Entrepreneurship, Transaction Costs, and Resource Attributes” International Journal of Strategic Change Management 1: 53-60.
This paper responds to Kim and Mahoney’s “How Property Rights Economics Furthers the Resource-Based View: Resources, Transaction Costs and Entrepreneurial Discovery” (a comment on Foss and Foss, 2005). While we agree with many of their arguments, we argue that they fail to recognise how exactly transaction costs shape the process of entrepreneurial discovery. We provide a sketch of the mechanisms that link entrepreneurship, property rights, and transaction costs in a resource-based setting, contributing further to the attempt to take the RBV in a more dynamic direction.
(with Kirsten Foss) “The Limits to Designed Orders: Authority under “Distributed Knowledge,” Review of Austrian Economics 19: 261-274.
We examine the argument, put forward by modern management writers and, in a somewhat different guise by Austrian economists, that authority is not a viable mechanism of coordination in the presence of “distributed knowledge” (which corresponds to Hayek’s treatment of the use of dispersed knowledge in society). We define authority and distributed knowledge and argue that authority is compatible with distributed knowledge. Moreover, it is not clear on theoretical grounds how distributed knowledge impacts on economic organization. An implication is that the Austrian argument that designed orders are strongly constrained by the Hayekian knowledge problem (Hayek, Kirzner, Sautet) is shaky. The positive flipside of this argument is that Austrians confront an exciting research agenda in theorizing how distributed knowledge impacts economic organization.
(with Kirsten Foss) “Simon on problem solving: implications for new organisational forms,” International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital 3: 339-356.
Two of Herbert Simon's best-known papers are 'The Architecture of Complexity' and 'The Structure of Ill-Structured Problems.' We discuss the neglected links between these two papers, highlighting the role of decomposition in the context of problems on which constraints have been imposed as a general approach to problem solving. We apply these Simonian ideas to organisational issues, specifically new organisational forms. Specifically, Simonian ideas allow us to develop a morphology of new organisational forms and to point to some design problems that characterise these forms.