Students of management are nearly unanimous (as are managers themselves) in believing that the contemporary business corporation is in a period of dizzying change. This book represents the first time that leading experts in sociology, law, economics, and management studies have been assembled in one volume to explain the varying ways in which contemporary businesses are transforming themselves to respond to globalization, new technologies, workforce transformation, and legal change. Together their essays, whose focal point is an emerging network form of organization, bring order to the chaotic tumble of diagnoses, labels, and descriptions used to make sense of this changing world.
Following an introduction by the editor, the first three chapters--by Walter Powell, David Stark, and Eleanor Westney--report systematically on change in corporate structure, strategy, and governance in the United States and Western Europe, East Asia, and the former socialist world. They separate fact from fiction and established trend from extravagant extrapolation. This is followed by commentary on them: Reinier Kraakman affirms the durability of the corporate form; David Bryce and Jitendra Singh assess organizational change from an evolutionary perspective; Robert Gibbons considers the logic of relational contracting in firms; and Charles Tilly probes the deeper historical context in which firms operate. The result is a revealing portrait of the challenges that managers face at the dawn of the twenty-first century and of how the diverse responses to those challenges are changing the nature of business enterprise throughout the world.
"An important addition to the literature on organizations and economic sociology. Major scholars in sociology and other areas contributed to this collection of original essays, which is blessed by coherent introductory and concluding essays by the editor."--Richard H. Hall, Contemporary Sociology
"The Twenty-First Century Firm is highly successful in unpacking the concept of network forms of organization."--Martin Ruef, Administrative Science Quarterly
"The Twenty-First Century Firm makes a substantial original contribution to organization studies. Discussions of the 'network form' have been around for some time. This book presents a serious attempt to draw together various conceptions of that form, compare them, and critically evaluate the claims for and against them. It will surely be read, debated, and appreciated widely."--Peter V. Marsden, Harvard University
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