Call for Papers - Special Issue: Organizational Economics and Organizational Capabilities: From Opposition and Complementarity to Real Integration

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Call for Papers - Special Issue: Organizational Economics and Organizational Capabilities: From Opposition and Complementarity to Real Integration
  See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: Call for Papers - Special Issue: OrganizationalEconomics and Organizational Capabilities: FromOpposition and...  Article   in  Organization Science · January 2009 DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1090.0466 · Source: DBLP CITATIONS 7 READS 65 4 authors: Nicholas ArgyresWashington University in St. Louis 45   PUBLICATIONS   3,162   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Teppo FelinUniversity of Oxford 58   PUBLICATIONS   1,944   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Nicolai J. FossCopenhagen Business School 293   PUBLICATIONS   11,414   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Todd R. ZengerUniversity of Utah 90   PUBLICATIONS   6,139   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE All content following this page was uploaded by Nicholas Argyres on 29 November 2016. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.  OrganizationScience Vol. 20, No. 4, July–August 2009, pp. 832–834 issn 1047-7039  eissn 1526-5455  09  2004  0832 informs  ®  doi 10.1287/orsc.1090.0466©2009 INFORMS Call for Papers Special Issue: Organizational Economics andOrganizational Capabilities: From Opposition andComplementarity to Real Integration Guest Editors Nicholas Argyres Washington University in St. Louis, Teppo Felin Brigham Young University, Nicolai Foss Copenhagen Business School,  Todd Zenger Washington University in St. Louis, Introduction and Motivation Two broad strands of literature have emerged as partic-ularly central to organizational strategy and the theoryof the firm: organizational economics and the capabil-ity (or resource-based) literature. While organizationaleconomics highlights organizational efficiency and hasclear implications for the organization of transactions,it has been criticized for saying very little about orga-nizational heterogeneity and therefore (sustainable) per-formance differences. Meanwhile, the capabilities lit-erature has been lauded as a theory of organizationalheterogeneity and sustainable performance differences,but criticized for an inability to address the organiza-tional forms and governance arrangements that createthese capability differences.The discussion and debate between these two litera-tures has persisted for at least 15 years and seems to haveevolved through three distinct stages: (1)  opposition —with scholars arguing that organizational economics andthe capability literature are fundamentally different andeven opposed; (2)  complementarity —with scholars argu-ing that the respective theories deal with distinct butcomplementary aspects of organization and strategy; and(3)  emerging integration —an emerging stage in whichsome scholars now argue that the two views are morethan complementary and that they can genuinely be inte-grated. However, despite the promise of this integration,the two literatures continue to be juxtaposed rather thanmeaningfully integrated.The purpose and explicit goal of this special issue,then, is to encourage and highlight work that effec-tively and systematically integrates the organizationaleconomics 1 and organizational capabilities-based litera-tures. Overall, we submit that significantly deeper inte-gration of these two literatures will lead to importantinsights into organizational behavior, particularly therelationships between various organizational and inter-organizational forms and arrangements on the one hand,and capability building processes and outcomes on theother.To illustrate potential links between organizationaleconomics and the capabilities-based literature, severalareas seem promising. For example, capability develop-ment and resource acquisition fundamentally are deci-sions related to organizational boundaries. These deci-sions might be better understood if integrated withinsights from transaction cost and property rights the-ories. Furthermore, capability development also impli-cates matters of governance; thus, a key opportunity 1 Overall, for this special issue we define “organizational economics”broadly and thus are interested in research that links organizationalcapabilities with: transaction costs, agency theory, property rights, andinformation economics. While some integrative links have been madebetween these approaches and organizational capabilities, the linkshave remained sparse and underdeveloped. 832  Argyres, Felin, Foss, and Zenger:  Call for Paper  Organization Science 20(4), pp. 832–834, ©2009 INFORMS  833 for future research is to explicate effective governanceforms and organizational designs and decision-makingstructures for capability development. Much work isalso needed on the emergence of new organizationalforms, and the role of transactions in capability devel-opment in entrepreneurial settings. Moreover, organiza-tional capabilities may be developed through alliancesand other interorganizational relationships. Organiza-tional economics and the capabilities literatures can fur-ther be integrated to generate key insights about thesegovernance forms as well.Numerous other areas also suggest that the integrationof these literatures might yield important insights. Forexample, a central part of organizational capabilities ishuman capital. The sourcing of human capital servicesand, for example, how such services are called forth byorganizational incentives suggests that some promisinginsights might be gained from further integrating agencytheory and other theories of motivation with the capabil-ities literature. Furthermore, understanding central issuesrelated to human capital may help us to better under-stand the patterns of rent appropriation associated withcapability development and organizational performance.Importantly, insights from psychology, social psychol-ogy, and organizational behavior should also help us fur-ther understand the nexus of organizational boundariesand the development of capabilities.In all, these matters seem to call for work that goessignificantly beyond merely contrasting or juxtaposingorganizational economics and capabilities-based views.This special issue, then, is a direct call for researchthat meaningfully integrates the two perspectives in aneffort to better understand organizational design, organi-zational behavior, and performance. Key Questions and Themes Integrating organizational economics and capabilities-based ideas may proceed from research questions thatare theory as well as phenomena driven. Theory-Driven Research Questions • How is a theoretical view of organizational capabil-ity development enhanced by understanding the gover-nance of transactions?• Is transacting itself a learned capability?• How does the transacting capability evolve? How isit developed by the firm?• What organizational forms and associated decision-making structures best govern knowledge creation andcapability development?• What insights from organization theory might helpus meaningfully bridge and extend economic andcapabilities-based reasoning? For example, what organi-zational designs and forms might help us further under-stand organizational boundaries and capabilities?• What possible extensions are needed to transactioncost economics, specifically to better understand capa-bility development?• What insights from psychology or organizationalbehavior might help us understand organizational bound-ary decisions as they relate to organizational capabilities?• Where do transactions come from? If transactionsare taken as given, where do alternatives and understand-ings about transactions come from?• What role does cognition and learning play inthe nexus of organizational economics and capabilitydevelopment?• Where do new organizational capabilities comefrom? How are new markets created, and how do trans-actions and property rights play into this type of newcapability development?• How are subjective perceptions about asset speci-ficity aggregated in nascent organizations? What isthe relationship between asset specificity and capabilitydevelopment in new markets?• What organizational forms best capitalize on thedevelopment of capabilities in new markets? How areactivities related to new capability development?• What is the relationship between human capital,organizational boundaries, and organizational capabilitydevelopment?• Can concepts of fit and complementarity (from thecapability literature) be related to, and integrated with,concepts of asset specificity and cospecialization (fromorganizational economics)?• What insights from information economics mightenhance our understanding of organizational capabilitiesand knowledge production? For example, informationasymmetries abound both across and within firms. Howdo these impact the development of capabilities and thecreation and governance of knowledge? Phenomena-Driven Research Questions • What is the relationship between firm boundarydecisions and capability development? For example,while interfirm networks have been highlighted as cen-tral to (or the locus of) capability development, what arethe relevant boundaries of the firm, and how is capabilitydevelopment implicated? Do organizational boundariesmatter?• What are the underlying sources of firm heterogene-ity from a transaction cost point of view? For example,different firms may face different costs of transacting;how does this influence their sourcing decisions and theirprocesses of building capabilities? Can (some types of)heterogeneity be traced to transaction costs?• What is the role of contracts in capabilitydevelopment?• What is the role of contracts and associated trans-actions in highly dynamic and uncertain environments?  Argyres, Felin, Foss, and Zenger:  Call for Paper  834  Organization Science 20(4), pp. 832–834, ©2009 INFORMS • How do theories of organizational capability andheterogeneity need to evolve to account for increasedglobalization, increased access to information technol-ogy, and the increased moves to knowledge work?• How do theories of the firm and capability devel-opment need to evolve given increased organizationaldisaggregation?• How do property rights impact capability develop-ment or knowledge production?• What role does knowledge accumulation play incapability development, boundaries, and the theory of the firm?• What is the role of decision-making structures incapability development? For example, how do insightsfrom agency or organizational theories help us under-stand the critical decisions related to the development of capabilities?The above questions are meant to be illustrative,though not comprehensive, of the types of questions thatwe hope are explored in this special issue. Also, weare interested in both theoretical work and all varietiesof method: econometric, ethnographic, historical, formalmodeling, and simulation. Submissions Manuscripts for this special issue of   Organization Sci-ence  may be submitted between October 1, 2009,and October 30, 2009. Manuscript submission is han-dled electronically via ScholarOne Manuscripts: http:// Conference After the first round of review, the authors of the mostpromising manuscripts will be invited to a special issueconference. (Additional conference details will be pro-vided later.)
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