Abstract

A major characteristic of business activities in our economies is that firms adopt a plurality of organizational arrangements to conduct transactions between suppliers, clients, and competitors. It is quite common to observe firms using simultaneously different forms to obtain inputs (or to sale products or services) that have identical characteristics. This phenomenon has been identified in organization theory as arrangements called plural forms. The motivation behind this book is to contribute to understanding what forces push a firm to obtain part of its input through independent suppliers, another from its own production, and yet another through suppliers with well-established contracts? The content of this book therefore reflects the theoretical investigation made to develop a consistent explanation of a poorly understood phenomenon and the extensive empirical study – twenty seven case studies in twelve sectors of agriculture chain in the Brazil was conducted to substantiate and improve our initial framework. see: http://www.editoraatlas.com.br/atlas/webapp/detalhes_produto.aspx?prd_des_ean13=9788522493722
Alfredo José Machado Neto
Anelise Krauspenhar Pinto
Caroline Foscaches de Oliveira Quevedo
Caroline Raiz Moron
Christian Carvalho Ganzert
Claude Ménard
Cláudia de Lima Cheron Koenig
Cristiane Feltre
Dante Pinheiro Martinelli
Éder de Carvalho Januário
Emmanuel Raynaud
Fabiana Cunha Viana Leonelli
Fabio Ribas Chaddad
Fausto Makishi
Fernando de Cesare Kolya
Guilherme Fowler de Ávila Monteiro
Hildo Meirelles de Souza Filho
José Paulo de Souza
Kassia Watanabe
Leandro Simões Pongeluppe
Lucas Sciencia do Prado
Luciana Cardoso Siqueira Ambrozini
Luiz Fernando de Oriani e Paulillo
Marcelo José Carrer
Maria Sylvia Macchione Saes
Marinês Santana Justo Smith
Mark Wever
Melissa Franchini Cavalcanti Bandos
Paola Richter Londero
Paula Sarita Bigio Schnaider
Roberta de Castro Souza
Rodrigo Lanna Franco da Silveira
Rubens Nunes
Rúbia Nara Rinaldi Leão de Sousa
Sandra Mara Schiavi Bánkuti
Sérgio Giovanetti Lazzarini
Sigismundo Bialoskorski Neto
Silvia Morales de Queiroz Caleman
Tamara Maria Gomes
Thiago Bernardino de Carvalho
Vivian Lara dos Santos Silva
CONTRIBUTORS
Claude Ménard Maria Sylvia Macchione Saes
Vivian Lara dos Santos Silva Emmanuel Raynaud
EDITED BY
PLURAL FORMS
CHALLENGES TO
ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION
A major characteristic of business activities in our economies is that firms adopt a plurality
of organizational arrangements to conduct transactions between suppliers, clients, and
competitors. It is quite common to observe firms using simultaneously different forms to obtain
inputs (or to sale products or services) that have identical characteristics. This phenomenon has
been identified in organization theory as arrangements called plural forms.
The motivation behind this book is to contribute to understanding what forces push a firm
to obtain part of its input through independent suppliers, another from its own production,
and yet another through suppliers with well-established contracts. The content of this book
therefore reflects the theoretical investigation made to develop a consistent explanation of a
poorly understood phenomenon.
The extensive empirical study – twenty seven case studies in twelve sectors of agriculture chain
in the Brazil conducted to substantiate and improve our initial framework.
APPLICATION
Book directly addressed to professionals working on management and strategic planning,
particularly in and with agribusiness companies, with interest in developing relationships with
suppliers and optimizing transactions in supply chains. The book has connection to the disciplines
of undergraduate and graduate areas of economics, management, production engineering
and the like. Different approaches can benefit from the discussion developed in the various
chapters: strategy and management of the supply chain, fundamentals of strategy, economics of
organizations, industrial and institutional economics, and transaction cost economics, etc.
PLURAL FORMS
CHALLENGES TO
ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION
VIVIAN LARA DOS SANTOS SILVA is
post-doctoral in Business Administration
at School of Business Administration at
the University of São Paulo (FEA-USP)
with PhD in Production Engineering
at Federal University of São Carlos
(UFSCar). Assistant professor at the
Department of Food Engineering, in the
Faculty of Animal Science and Food
Engineering of the University of São
Paulo (FZEA/USP). Research member
of Centre for Studies Organization
(CORS). Develops research in the area
of Economics of Organizations with
emphasis on agribusiness, franchising
and vertical coordination. It is co-
organizer of the book Theory and practice
of franchising: strategy and organization
networks franchises.
EMMANUEL RAYNAUD is a research
fellow at INRA SAD and director of the
SADAPT unit. He hold a PhD in economics
from the University of Paris I. His research
interest goes to the governance of
franchised chains, vertical coordination
and quality strategies in agrifood supply
chains, the analysis of institutions. He
has published in journals such as Journal
of Economic Behavior and Organization,
Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal
of Management and Governance, Revue
Internationale de Droit Economique.
CLAUDE MÉNARD is full professor of
economics at the University of Paris
(Panthéon-Sorbonne). He is co-founder
and past president of the International
Society for New Institutional Economics,
and co-founder and board member
of the Ronald Coase Institute. He has
published extensively in international
journals, has been coeditor of the Journal
of Economic Behavior and Organization
and is the editor of the Advances in New
Institutional Analysis Series (E. Elgar). His
most recent books are: The international
library of new institutional economics,
Handbook of new institutional
economics: regulation, deregulation, re-‐
regulation, institutional perspectives, and
Public procurement reforms in Africa.
His main interest goes to the economics
of organization and institutions, the
economics of infrastructures, and the
reform of public utilities.
MARIA SYLVIA MACCHIONE SAES
holds a doctorate in Economic Sciences.
He is currently a full professor of business
administration at FEA-USP, a director
of the Center for Organization Studies
(CORS) at USP, and past president of
FEA-USP’s research committee. She has
published, among others, the following
books: The economic rationality of
regulation in the Brazilian coffee market,
The coffee agribusiness in Brazil, and
Strategies for differentiation and quasi-
rent appropriation in agriculture: the
small-scale production.
... At the firm level, it is not unusual to also observe a diversity of governance modes coordinating upstream and/or downstream relations. In the food sector again, our own empirical work in various Brazilian agricultural sectors shows that, in many supply chains, firms simultaneously rely on different bilateral modes of governance to procure a particular input or to sell their products (Ménard et al., 2014). For instance, Suzano, one of the worldwide leading firms in the pulp and paper sector, relies on both vertical integration and outsourcing to procure its main input (eucalyptus wood). ...
... 8 Further contemporary advances in this field have shown that the plural form phenomenon goes beyond the coexistence of company-owned and franchised units in the franchising sector. It in fact encompasses a wide range of situations, both in the procurement of inputs across different sectors (Carlton, 1979;Monteverde and Teece, 1982;He and Nickerson, 2006;Parmigiani, 2007;Parmigiani and Mitchell, 2009;Ménard et al., 2014) and in the distribution of products (Dutta et al., 1995;Heide, 2003). This finding seems to hold across different sectors and distinct institutional and competitive environments. ...
... They also sometimes combine more than two governance structures. For instance, Ménard et al. (2014) found that, in the Brazilian agrifood sector, some firms procure their main inputs through several governance modes like spot market, formal contracts, and vertical integration. ...
Article
Why do firms concomitantly rely on more than one organizational arrangement to procure/distribute a given input/product? In this paper, we systematically review and discuss the extensive path undergone by the literature exploring this issue: the so‐called plural forms. We address two main questions: how to explain the coexistence (and often the prevalence) of plural forms in many types of businesses? Are plural forms stable or a transitory phenomenon? We describe the most prominent motivations identified in the economics and management literature that drive firms to adopt plural forms and show that their vast majority are related to the mitigation of various types of agency/transaction costs. We also demonstrate that most of the available pieces of empirical evidence suggest the stability of plural forms over time. We conclude by demonstrating the path that has been trailed by the most recent developments.
... However, some early contributions argued that there is room for plural forms within TCE if more attention is paid to uncertainty (Dutta, Bergen, Heide, & John, 1995, Parmigiani, 2007. More recently, Krzeminska (2009), Ménard (2013b), and Ménard et al. (2014 explored the possibility that it is the interaction between asset specificity and uncertainty that could better explain the existence and stability of plural forms. Other authors suggested that TCE needs being complemented by alternative approaches: For instance, Heide (2003) pointed out the need to take on board incentive issues in a principal-agent perspective, whereas Mols, Hansen, and Villadsen (2012) considered a resource-based approach more appropriate to deal with uncertainty and Gorovaia and Windsperger (2013) ...
... In the agrifood sector, from which our empirical information was collected, this source of uncertainty is of particular importance because there are significant variations in demand (e.g., seasonal variations), whereas supply in many sectors tend to be submitted to strong cyclical variations. The difficulty to predict these variations in due time is a source of ambiguity for organizational choices to be made (Ménard, 2013b;Ménard et al., 2014). ...
... Following the analysis developed in Section 2.2 and in line with Williamson (1991), it is assumed that for a transaction that requires assets of moderate specificity, competition pushes towards the adoption of hybrid arrangements. However, in the continuation of our model and in order to capture the variety of such arrangements exhibited in numerous empirical studies partially surveyed in Lafontaine and Slade (2007) and Ménard (2013a,b) and well illustrated in Ménard et al. (2014), we also hypothesize that the introduction of uncertainty has an impact on the modalities of hybrids arrangements adopted. To make tractable this variety, three basic types are hereafter differentiated. ...
Article
Full-text available
Strategies pushing firms to adopt plural forms and the heterogeneity of solutions they endorse have attracted increasing attention. This paper proposes a theoretical framework that combines asset specificity and uncertainty to explain why there are plural forms and focuses on the key role of uncertainty, within a given range of asset specificity, to predict what and when specific types of plural forms should be observed. Propositions derived from this model are tested on an extensive set of cases from the agribusiness sector. The empirical richness of these cases allows going beyond the existing literature, which has essentially focused on franchising.
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