This fall, I’m pleased to be teaching a seminar course in organizational economics.
Our general approach will be to explain organizational form and function in terms of minimizing transaction costs, as explained by Doug Allen here. (Yes, yes, persistent organizations will minimize the sum of transaction costs and production costs–but starting with TC’s feels more operationalizable to me). At the same time, we want to be sensitive to issues of process and evolution, as explained by Dick Langlois here.
We’ll be taking a very expansive approach from a topic perspective, not merely focusing on the for-profit firm (nothing wrong with that!). Bob Gibbons writes:
Moving beyond business firms, we also hope to see much more research on different organizational forms. Legislatures, government bureaus and departments, courts, political parties, clubs, cooperatives, mutuals, family firms, state-owned enterprises, charities and not-for-profits, hospitals, universities, and schools—all raise interesting organizational issues and deserve more attention than they have received.
My course will look at several of these–not to mention criminal organizations!