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Towards Reconciling Transaction Cost Economics and the Knowledge-based View of the Firm: The Context of Interfirm Collaborations

Bruce Heiman and Jack Nickerson

International Journal of the Economics of Business, 2002, vol. 9, issue 1, 97-116

Abstract: This paper presents a set of relationships that have the potential to reconcile the dispute between the knowledge-based view of the firm (KBV) and transaction cost economics (TCE). Several KBV scholars have argued that governance choice need rely only on bounded rationality and not on opportunism where TCE scholars maintain that both behavioural assumptions are needed to explain governance choice.We help to resolve part of the debate by developing an extension ofTCE to encompass certain knowledge-based attributes of transactions.We argue that high-levels of two knowledge transfer attributes - knowledge tacitness or problem solving complexity - lead to the adoption of the knowledge management practices - high-bandwidth channels or idiosyncratic communication codes - to economize on the cognitive limitations of man. It is these knowledge management practices that generate contracting hazards for whichTCE, and its attendant concern about opportunism, predicts equity-based collaborations are superior to non-equity-based collaborations.The linkages between knowledge transfer attributes, knowledge management practices, and governance choice add value via implications for managers which are not readily apparent from either theory alone.

Keywords: Interfirm Collaborations; Knowledge Management; Knowledge Transfer; Governance Choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2002
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DOI: 10.1080/13571510110103001

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