By Christian Berndt (auth.)
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Additional info for Corporate Germany between Globalization and Regional Place Dependence: Business Restructuring in the Ruhr Area
Moulaert (1996) has argued that the discussion of the ‘network ﬁrm’ cannot be conducted exclusively in terms of economic functionality (for example, claims that cooperation in networks is always more ‘efﬁcient’ than markets or hierarchies), but should include a political dimension as well. Networks can in themselves be structured in an extremely hierarchical way, divisions of knowledge and unequal access to information being at least as common as the pooling of resources depicted in the network literature, an aspect which mitigates against mutually beneﬁcial self-regulation (Giddens, 1984; Hayek, 1937; Sayer 1995).
Institutions – or, better, institutionalization as a process – cannot be conceived of in isolation from action and interaction. At the same time they provide us with a framework for action and, in doing so, inﬂuence what we do or not do. It is important to point out for the purpose of this book that rules, norms or values are subject to continuous questioning and reinterpretation by individual actors (this is the third, the cognitive dimension of institutions; see Hodgson, 1994b: 69; Scott, 1995).
Two aspects can be identiﬁed where the network approach has considerably widened our understanding. First, the growing attention paid to networks has considerably ‘ﬂexibilized’ and broadened the rigid markethierarchy dualism. This permits a more open view of what constitutes a ﬁrm, for instance, allowing the inclusion of different legally deﬁned business enterprises (Granovetter, 1994; Marginson, 1994). In general, loose and weak ties are regarded as being better able to prevent interaction from getting locked-in to rigid paths and as providing a better basis for adaptation.
Corporate Germany between Globalization and Regional Place Dependence: Business Restructuring in the Ruhr Area by Christian Berndt (auth.)