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Malcom H. Dunn

Inside the capitalist firm

an evolutionary theory of the principal agent-relation



ISBN: 978-3-86956-247-6
358 pages
Release year 2014

Series: Potsdam Economic Studies , 1

18,50 

This book deals with the inner life of the capitalist firm. There we find numerous conflicts, the most important of which concerns the individual employment relationship which is understood as a principal-agent problem between the manager, the principal, who issues orders that are to be followed by the employee, the agent. Whereas economic theory traditionally analyses this relationship from a (normative) perspective of the firm in order to support the manager in finding ways to influence the behavior of the employees, such that the latter – ideally – act on behalf of their superior, this book takes a neutral stance. It focusses on explaining individual behavioral patterns and the resulting interactions between the actors in the firm by taking sociological, institutional, and above all, psychological research into consideration. In doing so, insights are gained which challenge many assertions economists take for granted.

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This book deals with the inner life of the capitalist firm. There we find numerous conflicts, the most important of which concerns the individual employment relationship which is understood as a principal-agent problem between the manager, the principal, who issues orders that are to be followed by the employee, the agent. Whereas economic theory traditionally analyses this relationship from a (normative) perspective of the firm in order to support the manager in finding ways to influence the behavior of the employees, such that the latter – ideally – act on behalf of their superior, this book takes a neutral stance. It focusses on explaining individual behavioral patterns and the resulting interactions between the actors in the firm by taking sociological, institutional, and above all, psychological research into consideration. In doing so, insights are gained which challenge many assertions economists take for granted.