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How does opportunistic behavior influence firm size? An evolutionary approach to organizational behavior

  • CHRISTIAN CORDES, PETER RICHERSON, RICHARD MCELREATH and PONTUS STRIMLING

Abstract:

This paper relates firm size and opportunism by showing that, given certain behavioural dispositions of humans, the size of a profit-maximizing firm can be determined by cognitive aspects underlying firm-internal cultural transmission processes. We argue that what firms do better than markets – besides economizing on transaction costs – is to establish a cooperative regime among its employees that keeps in check opportunism. A model depicts the outstanding role of the entrepreneur or business leader in firm-internal socialization processes and the evolution of corporate cultures. We show that high opportunism-related costs are a reason for keeping firms’ size small.

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