Institutions and the Evolution of Modern Businessby Mark Casson
Pub. Date: 01/01/1998
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
For more than thirty years a symbiosis has developed between the 'new institutionalists' and business historians, which stems from synergies in the interests of both groups. The central questions posed by Coase and Williamson, of why firms exist and grow, have found echoes in the historical work of Chandler on the forces leading to the rise of big business first in the United States and then in Europe. Conversely Williamson used Chandler's historical evidence to give foundation to his development of transaction cost economics.
The papers in this volume demonstrate that it can be fruitful to apply institutional theory to business history. In addition, the volume shows that the wider study of the institutional environment is inseparable from the study of business. It is clear, however, that although 'institutionalism' in business history has a long pedigree, many areas of research and potential interaction with theory remain to be explored. The extent to which this will occur inevitably depends upon the degree to which the interests of theoreticians serve the needs of historians and vice versa.
The contributions to this volume, by moving beyond the analysis of the internal organisation of firms to interrelationships within and between institutions, moves the debate forward and points to the potential for new theoretical developments which would facilitate the study of networks moving them from the periphery of institutional theory to the core a development which would significantly help business historians build conceptual models to make sense of the complexities of the past.
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Table of ContentsTransaction costs and the theory of the firm - the scope and limitations of the new institutional approach, S.R.H. Jones; complexity, community structure and competitive advantage within the Yorkshire woollen industry, c.1700-1850, S.A. Caunce; invisible, visible and "direct" hands - an institutional interpretation of organizational structure and change in British general insurance, Oliver M. Westall; consultancies, institutions and the diffusion of Taylorism in Britain, Germany and France, 1920s to 1950s, Matthias Kipping; financial reconstruction and industrial reorganisation in different financial systems - a comparative view of British and Swedish institutions during the inter-war period, Hans Sjogren; post-war strategic capitalism in Norway - a theoretical and analytical framework, Sverre Knutsen; the politics of protection - an institutional approach to government-industry relations in the British and United States cotton industries, 1945-73, Mary B. Rose; institutional economics and business history - a way forward? Mark Casson.
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