Corporate Governance, Organization and the Firm
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Corporate Governance, Organization and the Firm

Co-operation and Outsourcing in the Global Economy

Edited by Mario Morroni

In recent years, applied studies have shown widespread, profound and increasing heterogeneity across firms in terms of their strategy, organization arrangement and performance. This book investigates the diversity of business firms, offering a picture of the different organizational settings they adopt in their endeavour to cope with increasing competitive pressure.
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Chapter 4: Types of Complementarity, Combinative Organization Forms and Structural Heterogeneity: Beyond Discrete Structural Alternatives

Anna Grandori and Santi Furnari


Anna Grandori and Santi Furnari ‘If any approach to defining organizational forms can be regarded as standard, it is one that regards forms as particular clusters of features. The example par excellence is Weber’s specification of rational-legal bureaucracy in terms of the nature of authority . . ., procedures . . ., and the employment relation of the official . . .’ (Polos et al. 2002, p. 87). 4.1 INTRODUCTION In spite of the broad consensus on the above concept, originating in the sociology of organization, apparently there has been much less effort and consensus on a systematic definition of which are the fundamental ‘features’ of organization, and according to which laws they are supposed to cluster. In the first section this chapter offers a critical re-reading of the notions of organization forms in organization theory and organization economics aimed at singling out what has been established and what stands up to scrutiny on those two important issues.1 In the second section, building on these elements and on earlier works by the present authors (Grandori 1997, 1999; Grandori and Furnari 2008), the chapter provides a typology of organizational ‘features’, a theory of how they are expected to combine inspired by an analogy with chemistry, and a formalized operationalization of the main propositions through an innovative application of Boolean algebra. 63 64 Theoretical aspects 4.2 LIMITS OF THE ‘DISCRETE STRUCTURAL ALTERNATIVES’ VIEW OF ORGANIZATION FORMS A view of organization forms as discrete clusters of features or attributes has been dominant in the major...

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