Examines the implications for the economics of the firm of the development of total quality control and just‐in‐time management which are becoming increasingly important for intrafirm resource allocation. Shows the Alchian and Demsetz and transaction cost perspectives on the firm and work organization to be theories of a particular management style rather than a general economics of the firm. Develops an alternative and more general framework on the basis of the firm as a strategic framework, defined in terms of the knowledge base of an organization, rather than a single strategic orientation. This framework constrains and directs organizationally lower level proactive activity. Emphasis is placed on the importance of participative management, in core firms, and an economic rather than legal definition of the firm.
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