Hierarchies and control: A New Interpretation and Reevaluation of Oliver Williamson's “Markets and Hierarchies” Story
This article offers a reinterpretation of Oliver Williamson's transaction‐cost efficiency approach to economic organizations. Asserted transaction‐cost minimizations are found to be based on the exercise of social control power within hierarchical governance structures. Analysis of transaction‐cost economics' “justification” of hierarchical employment relations shows the tenuous nature of Williamson's noncoercive conceptualization of control. His “rationale” for integrated firms, based on his assessment of the control efficiency properties of intrafirm governance structures, is also shown to be problematic. Finally, a network exchange framework is presented as an alternative approach for analyzing economic organizations. This framework builds upon, and moves beyond, insights developed in the “Markets and Hierarchies” story.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knapp, Tim. "Hierarchies and control: a new interpretation and reevaluation of Oliver Williamson's “markets and hierarchies” story." Sociological Quarterly 30, no. 3 (1989): 425-440.