2. Transaction Cost Economics

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1 3 2. Trnsction Cost Economics Trnsctions Trnsctions Cn Cn Be Be Internl Internl or or Externl Externl n n Orgniztion Orgniztion Trnsctions Trnsctions occur occur whenever whenever good good or or service service is is trnsferred trnsferred from from provider provider user user Trnsction Trnsction depend depend on on how how trnsction trnsction is is orgnized, orgnized, i.e., i.e., governnce governnce structure structure Within Within n n orgniztion, orgniztion, include include mnging mnging moniring moniring personnel personnel procuring procuring inputs inputs When When buying buying from from n n externl externl provider, provider, cn cn include include source source selection, selection, contrct contrct mngement, mngement, performnce performnce moniring moniring 3 3 Trnsctions Cn Be Internl or Externl n Orgniztion Trnsction Cost Economics focuses on orgniztion trnsctions tht occur whenever good or service is trnsferred from provider user cross technologiclly seprble interfce. When trnsctions occur within n orgniztion, trnsction cn include mnging moniring personnel procuring inputs cpitl equipment. The trnsction buying sme good or service from n externl provider cn include source selection, contrct mngement, performnce mesurement, dispute resolution. Thus, orgniztion trnsctions, or governnce structure, ffects trnsction. 1 1 This discussion trnsction cost ory is bsed on Willimson [1989].

2 4 The The Air Air Force Force Hs Hs Mny Mny Options Options for for Orgnizing Orgnizing Trnsctions Trnsctions Spectrum Governnce Structures: Spectrum Governnce Structures: Spot Mrkets Spot Mrkets Simple Short-Term Simple Short-Term Reltionl Reltionl Verticl Integrtion Verticl Integrtion Exmples: Exmples: Gsoline, Pper, Gsoline, Milk Pper, Milk Cusm Sttionery, Cusm Sttionery, Delivery Delivery Power-by-Hour Power-by-Hour Mintennce, Mintennce, Lese Lese Mjor Wepon Mjor System Wepon Acquisition System Acquisition Orgnic Provision, Orgnic Inter-Service Provision, Inter-Service Support Support 4 4 The Air Force Hs Mny Options for Orgnizing Trnsctions Trnsctions cn be orgnized under spectrum governnce structures rnging from pure, nonymous spot mrkets where good or service is generic identities buyers sellers re immteril trnsction fully integrted firms or orgniztions, where both trding prties re under unified ownership control, trnsction cn be modified by mngeril fit. Between two poles spot mrkets verticl integrtion re contrcts incresing durtion complexity, which cn include shred ownership ssets. Simple, short-term contrcts involve cusmiztion tht requires n exchnge informtion terms pyment. For more complex cusmiztion, longer-term contrcts my be required, including djustment cluses respond contingencies over life contrct. When goods or services cnnot be well defined in dvnce, reltionl contrcts my be used. These contrcts focus on terms reltionship rr thn scope work, which my be renegotited s needed. The Air Force Deprtment Defense (DoD) currently use similr rnge governnce structures orgnize trnsctions. At one end

3 5 spectrum re simple procurements commodities such s fice supplies, food, fuel. Short-term contrcts might be used for cusmized sttionery or locl delivery, longer-term contrcts for Federl Express service, power-by-hour mintennce, or leses. The rrngements through which mjor wepons systems re cquired under Federl Acquisition Regultions (FAR) might be described s reltionl contrcts. 2 Moving cross spectrum cn involve contrcts incresing flexibility on price performnce, including government ownership equipment /or fcilities. At or end spectrum is orgnic provision goods services, such s depot mintennce supply mngement t Air Logistics Centers or inter-service support greements. Within this context, outsourcing represents move wy from verticl integrtion (or orgnic provision) one contrcting options. As we discuss below, optiml governnce structure for prticulr good or service, or how fr one should move left spectrum, depends on chrcteristics trnsctions involved. 2 Under power-by--hour mintennce contrct, buyer pys for support services bsed on hours flight time, supplier is free determine how support ircrft by positioning scks spre prts mintennce personnel. The desired output cn be firly well defined in terms ircrft vilbility. However, mjor wepon system cquisitions ten cnnot be well defined in terms performnce ircrft being developed, prticulrly when new technologies re involved. Thus, contrct must cover broder rnge uncertinties.

4 6 Chrcteristics Chrcteristics Trnsctions Trnsctions Cn Cn Affect Affect Trnsction Trnsction Costs Costs Investments Investments in in ssets ssets improve improve efficiency efficiency some some trnsctions trnsctions Site specificity Site specificity Specilized equipment or oling Specilized equipment or oling Specific skills or knowledge Specific skills or knowledge Dedicted cpcity Dedicted cpcity Br nme or reputtion Br nme or reputtion If If prties prties behve behve opportunisticlly, opportunisticlly, y y cn cn cpture cpture vlue vlue mde mde by by ors ors Bounded Bounded rtionlity rtionlity limits limits bility bility both both mngers mngers contrcts contrcts control control incentives incentives 5 5 Chrcteristics Trnsctions Cn Affect Trnsction Costs Some goods services cn be produced more efficiently 3 if one prties invests in ssets tht cnnot esily be put or uses if buyer/seller reltionship breks down. Asset specificity cn tke vriety forms, including: site or loction specificity buyer or seller loctes its fcilities next or economize on invenries or trnsporttion ; physicl sset specificity re mde in specilized equipment or oling designed for prticulr cusmer; humn cpitl specificity one or both prties develop skills or knowledge specific buyer-seller reltionship; 3 As used here, production is defined be efficient if it mximizes vlue items produced net full production trnsctions ssocited with se items.

5 7 dedicted cpcity cpcity is creted serve cusmer who is lrge reltive mrket size, so tht it would be difficult find lterntive cusmers; br nme cpitl prties must mintin reputtion shred br nme; for exmple, in frnchise reltionships reputtion frnchise depends on behvior individul frnchisees. Since vlue ssets depends on continued existence buyer/seller reltionship, prty tht hs not invested my exproprite some vlue investment by thretening wlk wy from reltionship. If invesr cnnot be ssured relizing full vlue investment, efficient tht reduce cost production my not be mde, resulting in higher both prties. Bounded rtionlity my lso interfere with efficient opertion trnsctions. Becuse limited mngeril time spn control, orgniztions cnnot effectively mnge n unlimited number trnsctions internlly. In ddition, bounded rtionlity limits cpbility mrkets simple contrcts hle sset specificity, becuse prties cnnot foresee contrct for ll possible contingencies.

6 8 Ech Ech Governnce Governnce Structure Structure Hs Hs Strengths Strengths Weknesses Weknesses Governnce Strengths Weknesses Governnce Strengths Weknesses Structure Structure Mrkets Mrkets Verticl Verticl Integrtion Integrtion Strong incentives Strong incentives mximize net vlue mximize net vlue Some protection for Some protection for ; mrketlike incentives ; mrketlike incentives Internlizes vlue Internlizes vlue Cn t protect Cn t protect Cn t contrct for Cn t contrct for ll possible ll possible contingencies contingencies Cn t control Cn t control s well s mrkets s well s mrkets 6 6 Ech Governnce Structure Hs Strengths Weknesses For mny types trnsctions, mrkets re preferred governnce structure becuse y provide high-powered incentives. Tht is, supplier reps full benefits or bers full its own ctivities, thus hs strong incentive mximize vlue net production, respond quickly chnges in mrket prices inputs or outputs. However, Trnsction Cost Economics rgues tht mrkets hve difficulty deling with some trnsctions becuse sset specificity, bounded rtionlity, opportunistic behvior by prties trnsction. Since buyers sellers cn esily wlk wy from pure, spot-mrket trnsctions, y fer no protection ginst opportunism when ssets re involved. fer some protection for ssets by tying buyer seller ger for specified period. However, bounded rtionlity precludes comprehensive ex nte contrcting tht specifies how prties will behve in ll possible circumstnces. If contrcts re inherently incomplete, prties my perceive potentil gins from opportunistic behvior. As result, ttention must be focused on more complex (or internlized) governnce

7 9 mechnisms fill gps in contrct, settle disputes, dpt new conditions. Contrcting prties my lso mke ex nte efforts screen counterprties in terms relibility or reputtion, /or design ex post sfegurds protect. When sset specificity, bounded rtionlity, opportunism mke contrcting problems severe, verticl integrtion my be needed ensure tht vlue ssets is internlized. It cn lso llow for flexible redeployment ssets personnel when conditions surrounding trnsction chnge. However, bounded rtionlity limits spn effective mngeril control. Lower-level mngers employees my engge in suboptimizing behvior, or y my hve insufficient incentives minimize production. If it is fesible hve more thn one source supply, orgniztions cn mitigte some negtive effects mrkets verticl integrtion by mintining both internl externl providers. Outsourcing prt worklod n externl provider or llowing internl cusmers option buy externlly cn crete incentives for internl provider control improve performnce by exposing it mrket pressures. Conversely, retining some cpbility produce in-house cn llow orgniztions mintin mngement competencies needed mke more effective sourcing decisions; retin some leverge over externl provider, prticulrly when re re only few potentil suppliers; mintin surge cpcity. 4 4 For exmple, Mohrmn, Lwler, McMhn [1996] cite mny exmples combined internl externl sourcing support services such s humn resource mngement informtion technology.

8 10 Efficient Efficient Governnce Governnce Structure Structure Depends Depends on on Chrcteristics Chrcteristics Trnsction Trnsction TCE TCE sys: sys: Choose Choose governnce governnce structure structure mximize mximize vlue vlue net net production production trnsction trnsction Asset Specificity Asset Specificity Potentil for Opportunism Potentil for Opportunism Bounded Rtionlity Bounded Rtionlity Spot Mrkets Spot Mrkets Simple Short-Term Simple Short-Term Reltionl Verticl Reltionl Integrtion Verticl Integrtion Bounded Rtionlity Bounded Rtionlity Production Costs Production Costs 7 7 Efficient Governnce Structure Depends on Chrcteristics Trnsction Becuse mrkets provide stronger incentives mximize vlue net production, wheres verticl integrtion my be more cost-effective governnce structure for trnsctions involving sset specificity, centrl recommendtion TCE is tht governnce structure for prticulr trnsction should be chosen mximize vlue net both production governnce. Thus, in mking outsourcing decisions, it is importnt consider not only internl externl providing good or service, but lso cost mnging trnsction internlly externlly. To summrize predictions TCE, mrket governnce trnsctions my impede efficient investment in ssets becuse potentil for opportunistic behvior. cn protect some extent, but bounded rtionlity prevents contrcts from specifying ll possible contingencies. As contrcts become more flexible, y llow more potentil for opportunism. Thus, sset specificity, combined with potentil for opportunism bounded rtionlity, tends move efficient governnce structure right on spectrum. However, bounded

9 11 rtionlity lso plces limit on number ctivities tht cn be controlled within single orgniztion, so firms should only internlize trnsctions tht y cn govern more effectively thn through mrkets or contrcts. Thus, rrows in digrm indicte tht bounded rtionlity tends preclude orgniztions bsed entirely on mrkets or on verticl integrtion. In ddition, production re likely be lower s one moves wrd mrket end spectrum becuse mrket incentives mximize vlue net becuse potentil for greter economies scle with n externl provider tht serves multiple cusmers. As we discuss in greter detil below, business mngement literture indictes tht externl suppliers cn lso provide or benefits, such s improved performnce becuse greter speciliztion in ir re expertise.

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