A Relationship-based Theory of the Firm

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A Relationship-based Theory of the Firm

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Title: A Relationship-based Theory of the Firm
A Chinese Perspective
Author: Li, Xin
Abstract: In this paper, I argue that all the existing theories of the firm, i.e., the transaction cost, knowledge-based, and entrepreneurial theories, are insightful yet partial since they only deal with one or another possible situation in which the first ever firm came to exist. In addition, all of them have a common problem of buyer/entrepreneur/firm-centrism because they all ignore the role of employees in the formation of the firm. I argue, since they are complementary to each other, a new, comprehensive and integrative theory of the firm must be able to unify them with a consideration of employees. I propose a relationship-based theory of the firm (R’BT) as such a candidate theory. The R’BT places the employer-employee (or broader, firm-stakeholder) relationships at the centre of its whole theoretical framework and argues that the notion of relationship harmony is fundamental in explaining the nature of the firm.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8054
Date: 2010-05-25

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