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The Associational EconomyFirms, Regions, and Innovation$
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Philip Cooke and Kevin Morgan

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198290186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198290186.001.0001

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Firms as Laboratories: Re-inventing the Corporation

Firms as Laboratories: Re-inventing the Corporation

(p.35) 2 Firms as Laboratories: Re-inventing the Corporation
The Associational Economy

Philip Cooke

Kevin Morgan

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on four areas — corporate governance, R&D, production and supply chains — where organizational change has been more pronounced. In corporate governance, many firms are trying to strike a better balance between the interests of shareholders and stakeholders on the one hand and between their central and peripheral organizations on the other. In R&D, all firms are coming under intense pressure to forge better links between their laboratories and their factories. In the area of production, the more innovative firms are trying to devolve responsibility to work teams who are empowered to use their local knowledge in the name of continuous improvement, with the result that the factory becomes more like a laboratory. The advent of more integrated supply chains suggest that innovative capacity rests not so much with the firm per se as with a network of firms in which formally independent bodies become ever more functionally integrated. The focus throughout this chapter is on emergent tendencies in the large-firm sector of the economy.

Keywords:   corporate governance, research and development, production, supply chains, shareholders, stakeholders, laboratories, factories, innovative capacity

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