Plural Modes of Organization

Projekt: Forschung


Reconceptualizing Plural Sourcing
Firms often procure the same input via multiple means, e.g., making and buying. Recent papers have yielded rich, but inconsistent, theoretical and empirical insights. Resolving these inconsistencies requires reconceptualizing two aspects of plural sourcing: what and how. We reconceptualize plural sourcing as a set of combined governance modes —make-and-buy, make-and-ally and buy-and-ally — which differ in their capabilities and limitations. We demonstrate our reconceptualization’s potential with propositions predicting the choice of specific plural sourcing modes.

Is TCE a useful perspective for plural sourcing?
In this paper we investigate whether transaction cost economics (TCE) is a useful perspective for the explanation of plural sourcing. In contrast to single modes of sourcing, i.e. make, buy, or ally, that are assumed to be mutually exclusive, plural sourcing occurs when two or more single sourcing modes are combined. Although plural sourcing is employed in various contexts, current conceptualizations of TCE are silent about this phenomenon. Our analysis of TCE establishes that, despite its dominance in the plural sourcing literature, TCE can only be a useful approach to explain plural sourcing when uncertainty is conceptualized as main driver independently from specificity. To address this, we develop a refined TCE framework that focuses on different types of uncertainty to explain plural sourcing, moderated by specificity and scale economies. We extend the literature by suggesting a unified internally consistent framework that allows explaining different cases and modes of
plural sourcing.

Complementarity of internal and external Innovation Activities: Product versus Porcess Innovation
Previous research on the organization of innovation strategies mainly focused on the complementarity of internal and external innovation activities in the context of new product development. This paper extends this research by investigating the existence of complementarity of internal and external innovation activities for process innovations. Due to the differences in knowledge sets required for implementing product versus process innovations, we argue that complementarity is less likely for the latter. Our empirical analysis of cross-sectional firm level data of the German manufacturing sector comprises a direct complementarity test for radical product versus process innovations. The results provide evidence for significant complementarities between internal and external R&D for radical product innovations, but support the hypothesis of non-existence of complementarity for process innovations.