Business Systems and Organizational Capabilities The Institutional Structuring of Competitive Competences

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-01-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Twenty-first century capitalism has been marked by an increasing international economic independence, and considerable differences between dominant economic systems of coordination and control. In this context, national competition and coordination within industries has increased, but the governance of leading firms, and the kinds of competences they develop, remain quite diverse. This book shows how different kinds of firms become established and develop different capabilities in different societies, and as a result are effective in particular kinds of industries and markets. By integrating institutionalist approaches to organizations with the capabilities theory of the firm, Richard Whitley suggests how we can understand this combination of diversity and integration by developing the comparative business systems framework in three major ways. First, by identifying the particular circumstances in which distinctive business systems and innovation systems become nationally established and reproduced, as well as how changing endogenous and exogenous pressures have affected the major kinds of business systems that developed in many OECD states during the postwar period. Second, by showing how variations in authority sharing with employees and business partners and in the provision of organizational careers lead institutional regimes to affect the nature of organizational capabilities that dominant firms develop and enable them to deal with different kinds of risks and opportunities in particular technologies and markets. Third, by identifying the circumstances in which multinational firms are likely to develop distinctive transnational organizational capabilities through such authority sharing and careers, and so become different kinds of companies from their more domestically focused competitors. In many, if not most, cases of cross national managerial coordination, these conditions rarely exist, and so the extent to which multinational firms do indeed constitute distinct organizational forms and strategic actors is much less than is sometimes claimed.

Author Biography

Richard Whitley is Professor of Organisational Sociology at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester and has recently held visiting appointments at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. Recent books include: Changing Capitalisms? Internationalisation, Institutional Change and Systems of Economic Organisation; The Multinational Firm: Organizing Across Institutional and National Divides; Divergent Capitalisms: The Social Structuring and Change of Business Systems; and the second edition of The Intellectual and Social Organisation of the Sciences (all published by Oxford University Press), and Competing Capitalisms (Edward Elgar). Current research interests include the institutional structuring of innovation patterns, changing institutional regimes and business systems, and competence development.

Table of Contents

Figurep. xi
List of Tablesp. xii
Abbreviationsp. xiv
The Comparative Analysis of Competing Capitalismsp. 3
The Changing Nature of National Capitalisms: Institutional Regimes, Business Systems, and Innovation Systems
The Contingent Nature of National Business Systems: Types of States and Complementary Institutionsp. 35
Constructing Innovation Systems: The Roles of Institutional Regimes and National Public Science Systemsp. 57
Changing Institutional Regimes and Business Systems: Endogenous and Exogenous Pressures on Postwar Systems of Economic Organizationp. 86
The Growth of International Governance and the Restructuring of Business Systems: The Effects of Multi-levelled Governance in Europe and Elsewherep. 114
Constructing Organizational Capabilities in Different Institutional Regimes
The Institutional Structuring of Organizational Capabilities: Variations in Authority Sharing and Organizational Careersp. 147
Developing Innovative Competences in Different Institutional Frameworksp. 175
Constructing Capabilities in Entrepreneurial Technology Firms: A Comparative Institutional Analysis of Germany, Sweden, and the UKp. 203
Project-Based Firms: New Organizational Form or Variations on a Theme?p. 228
Internationalization and the Development of Transnational Organizational Capabilities
Divergent Multinational Firms: Home and Host Economy Effects on Internationalization Strategies and Organizational Capabilitiesp. 251
Developing Transnational Organizational Capabilities in Multinational Companies: The Role of Cross-National Authority Sharing and Organizational Careersp. 276
The Changing Japanese Multinational: Application, Adaptation, and Learning in Car Manufacturing and Financial Servicesp. 302
Referencesp. 334
Indexp. 366
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