Business Strategy, Economic Crisis and the Theory of the Firm

  • Carlo J. Morelli


Business organisation and strategy has permitted the introduction of a range of more heterodox theories linking economic history and business history. Coase’s ‘Theory of the Firm’ and Williamson’s ‘Transaction Cost Analysis’ broaden into an approach which identifies imperfect competition from within a traditional and familiar neo-classical framework. When placed within a business history context, and utilising contrasting debates over the managerial revolution and explanations of relative economic decline, business strategy begins to be open to more complex explanations for economic transitions and crisis. This complexity permits both a wider set of theories of crisis and a wider political economy, including post-Keynesian theories of market regulation and industrial policy and Marx’s ‘Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall’ to be developed.


  1. Akerlof, G. A. (1970, August). The market for “lemons”: Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 84(3), 488–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aoki, M., Gustafsson, B., & Williamson, O. E. (Eds.). (1990). The firm as a nexus of treaties. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Baran, P. A., & Sweezy, P. M. (1966). Monopoly capital: An essay on the American economic and social order. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  4. Begg, D., Fischer, S., & Dornbusch, R. (1997). Economics (5th ed.). Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Booth, A. (2003). The manufacturing failure hypothesis and the performance of British industry during the long boom. The Economic History Review, 56, 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coasr, R. H. (1937). The nature of the firm. Economica, 4(16), 386–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cyert, R. M., & March, J. G. (1963). A behavioural theory of the firm. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  8. De Vivo, G. (1990). Labour power. In J. Eatwell, M. Milgate, & P. Newman (Eds.), The new Palgrave Marxian economics (pp. 222–224). London: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
  9. Edgerton, D. (1996). Science, technology and the British industrial ‘decline’ 1870–1970. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Eichengreen, B. (1996). Institutions and economic growth in Europe after World War II. In N. F. R. Crafts & G. Toniolo (Eds.), Economic growth in Europe since 1945 (pp. 38–72). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grove, J. W. (1962). Government and industry in Britain. Glasgow: Longmans.Google Scholar
  12. Harman, C. (1999). A people’s history of the world. London: Bookmarx.Google Scholar
  13. Harman, C. (2009). Zombie capitalism: Global crisis and the relevance of Marx. London: Bookmarx.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, G., Whittington, R., Scholes, K., Angwin, D., & Regnér, P. (2014). Exploring corporate strategy: Text and cases (10th ed.). Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  15. Lapavitsas, C., Kaltenbrunner, A., Labrinidis, G., Lindo, D., Meadway, J., Michell, J., et al. (2012). Crisis in the Eurozone. London: Verso Books.Google Scholar
  16. Lazonick, W. (1990). Labour theory of value. In J. Eatwell, M. Milgate, & P. Newman (Eds.), The new Palgrave Marxian economics (pp. 225–233). London: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
  17. Marx, K. (1974a). Capital volume 1. London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
  18. Marx, K. (1974b). Capital volume 3. London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
  19. Mason, P. (2012). Why it’s kicking off everywhere: The new global revolutions. London: Verso Books.Google Scholar
  20. Nelson, R. (1991). Why do firms differ, and how much does it matter? Strategic Management Journal, 12, 61–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. North, D. C. (1981). Structure and change in economic history. New York: W.W Norton and Co.Google Scholar
  22. Olson, M. (1982). The rise and decline of nations. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Peteraf, M. A. (1993). The cornerstones of competitive advantage: A resource-based view. Strategic Management Journal, 14, 179–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pollard, S. (1983). The development of the British economy 1914–1980 (3rd ed.). Victoria Australia: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  25. Prahalad, C. K., & Hamel, G. (1990, May–June). The core competence of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68(3), 79–91.Google Scholar
  26. Roberts, M. (2016). The long depression. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.Google Scholar
  27. Schumpeter, J. A. (1976). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  28. Smith, A. (1988). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.Google Scholar
  29. Tomlinson, J. (1990). Public policy and the economy since 1900. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  30. Tomlinson, J. (2009). Not ‘decline and revival’: An alternative narrative on post-war productivity. In R. Coopey & P. Lyth (Eds.), Business in Britain in the twentieth century (pp. 153–167). Oxford: University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Varoufakis, Y. (2015). The global minotaur: America, Europe and the global economy. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  32. Williamson, O. E. (1985). The economic institutions of capitalism. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo J. Morelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economic StudiesUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK

Personalised recommendations