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Working papers: 2005

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WP318: Domestic Capabilities & Global Production Networks in the Clothing Industry: A Comparison of German & UK Firms’ Strategies

Christel Lane and Jocelyn Probert

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In this paper we examine the sourcing strategies of clothing firms in the developed economies of the UK and Germany in the context of their national institutional framework. We argue that, as a result of their embeddedness in divergent national structures, these firms pursue different sourcing strategies and make different locational choices. We place particular emphasis on the different mix of arms’ length and relational contracting that firms develop, and on the divergent degree of control over the manufacturing process and the product that they retain. We suggest that the construction of global production networks and control over supplier firms is mediated by co-ordinating firms’ product strategy and the degree of dependence on national retailers this engenders. In the UK and Germany, firms and their networks differ from the US case which is normally taken as representative of the industry.

WP317: The Comparative Evolution of the Employment Relationship

Simon Deakin

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It is widely believed that the legal institution of the contract of employment is currently undergoing a conceptual crisis as a result of changes in labour markets, the organisation of production, and the form of the enterprise. A historical and comparative perspective, however, indicates that conceptual crises of this kind are nothing new, and have occurred periodically in the systems of western Europe since the industrial revolution. The employment form serves important functions in a market economy even in an era of deregulation and liberalisation, and is unlikely to be replaced by a radically new model in the near future.

WP316: ICT & Productivity Growth – The Paradox Resolved?

Alan Hughes and Michael S Scott Morton

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This paper argues that the gains from ICT at the individual business level depend upon the implementation of a range of complementary ‘investments’ and organisational changes appropriate to the competitive and institutional context of particular sectors. To support our proposition we provide a brief overview of a recently emerging but compelling body of large sample micro-econometric research. We focus in depth, however on a single case study of ICT related organisational transformation in the transportation sector. This case builds upon the conceptual framework developed in the MIT interesting organisations project (Scott Morton (2003)). Taken as a whole we believe there is clear evidence of the conditions that seem to be required before the payoff from ICT can be realised by an organisation and hence diffuse through the economy. Effective use of ICT requires a holistic solution which recognises that there is no single factor, or even just a few, which leads to successful exploitation. Rather success comes from the artful crafting of a series of interrelated and mutually interdependent driving forces. The paradoxical ‘gap’ between investment in computers and realised performance can be closed if this lesson is absorbed.

WP315: Shareholder Value Maximization, Stock Market & New Technology: Should the US Corporate Model Be the Standard?

Ajit Singh, Jack Glen, Ann Zammitt, Rafael De-Hoyas, Alaka Singh and Bruce Weisse

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In 1992 a blue-ribbon group of US economists led by Michael Porter concluded that the US stock market-based corporate model was misallocating resources and jeopardising US competitiveness. The faster growth of US economy since then and the supposed US lead in the spread of information technology has brought new legitimacy to the stock market and the corporate model, which is being hailed as the universal standard. Two main conclusions of the analysis presented here are: (a) there is no warrant for revising the blue-ribbon group’s conclusion; and (b) even US corporations let alone developing country ones would be better off not having stock market valuation as a corporate goal.

WP314: The Export of National Varieties of Capitalism: The Cases of Wal-mart & Ikea

Suzanne Konzelmann, Frank Wilkinson, Charles Craypo and Rabih Aridi

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Using the cases of Wal-Mart and IKEA, this paper takes a productive systems approach to examine ‘varieties of capitalism’ from the perspective of the ways by which production and market relations are structured and prioritised. It considers the nature of these relations and their interaction within the domestic economy and the ways that firms and national systems interact with each other in the global economy. It examines the processes by which trading standards are transported via supply chain relationships, which ultimately become embedded in products and recognised by consumers at various stages. In this analysis, the cases of Wal-Mart and IKEA provide insight into the ways by which national systems extend themselves globally, their contrasting effects on the business environments in host localities, and the impact of the resulting supply chain relations on organisational performance.

WP313: Corporate Governance, Stakeholding & the Nature of Employment Relations in the Firm

Suzanne Konzelmann, Neil Conway, Linda Trenberth and Frank Wilkinson

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This paper investigates the effect of different forms of corporate governance on the structure and nature of stakeholder relationships within organisations and the consequent impact on employment relations within the firm.

WP312: Labour Regulation, Corporate Governance & Legal Origin: A Case of Institutional Complementarity

Simon Deakin and Beth Ahlering

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We explore the finding of La Porta et al. that differences in ‘legal origin’ account for part of cross-national diversity in labour regulation and corporate governance. We suggest that the finding needs a better historical grounding and that a mechanism which might explain it has not been adequately spelled out. In search of an explanation we focus on the role of complementarities between legal and economic institutions, and in particular the part played by the distinctive ‘legal cultures’ of the common law and civil law in setting national systems on separate pathways to economic development.

WP311: Management Characteristics, Collaboration & Innovative Efficiency: Evidence from UK Survey Data

Andy Cosh, Xiaolan Fu and Alan Hughes

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This paper explores the impact of management characteristics and patterns of collaboration on a firm’s innovation performance in transforming innovation resources into commercially successful outputs.

WP310: Will Services Be the New Engine of Economic Growth in India?

Sukti Dasgupta and Ajit Singht

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This paper revisits the role of manufacturing and services in economic development in the light of the following new facts: (a) a faster growth of services than that of manufacturing in many developing countries (DCs). (b) The emergence of “de-industrialisation” in several DCs at low levels of per capita income. (c) Jobless growth in the formal sector even in fast growing countries such as India and (d) a large expansion of the informal sector in both fast growing and slow growing DCs. Although the paper examines these phenomena in the specific case of the Indian economy, the analysis has much wider application, both for economic policy and for theories of growth and structural change.

WP309: The Book Publishing industry in Japan & the UK: Corporate Philosophy/Objectives, Behaviour & Market Structure

Dai Miyamoto and Hugh Whittaker

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A number of prominent publishers in the UK and US have become parts of globalised media groups. In Japan, by contrast, they have neither been absorbed into media groups nor become globalised businesses. Based on interviews of major players in the Japanese publishing industry as well as annual reports, other written materials, and in comparison with the UK, this paper examines co-relationships among corporate philosophy, behaviour, and market structure with a view to explaining comparative divergence between Japan and the UK.

WP308: Anglo-American Corporate Governance & the Employment Relationship: A Case to Answer?

Simon Deakin, Richard Hobbs, Sue Konzelman and Frank Wilkinson

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The corporate governance environment in the UK and US is generally thought to be hostile to the emergence of cooperative employment relations of the kind exemplified by labour-management partnerships. We discuss case study evidence from the UK which suggests that, contrary to this widespread perception, enduring and proactive partnerships may develop, in conditions where management can convince shareholders of the long-term gains from this approach, and where other regulatory factors operate to extend the time-horizon for financial returns. We conclude that there is more scope than is commonly allowed for measures which could reconcile liquidity in capital markets with cooperation in labour relations.

WP307: Who Should Make Corporate Law? EC Legislation Versus Regulatory Competition

John Armour

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This paper makes a case for the future development of European corporate law through regulatory competition rather than EC legislation.

WP306: The Revealed Preferences of High Technology Acquirers: An Analysis of the Characteristics of their Targets

Panayotis Dessylla and Alan Hughes

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In this paper we investigate the motives of high-tech acquirers by analysing their revealed preferences in terms of the high-tech companies they acquire.

WP305: Combined & Uneven Development: Reflections on the North-South Divide

Robert Rowthorn

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This paper is concerned with the geography of structural change in Great Britain since 1971. It divides the country into two broad areas – the ‘North’ comprising Northern England, the West Midlands, Wales and Scotland, and the ‘South’ comprising the rest of mainland Britain. The paper documents the uneven regional impact of industrial decline and the rise of the new service economy. The North has experienced the greatest industrial decline and has gained least from the growth of new service industries. With certain local exceptions, the apparent revival of the Northern economy in recent years is not based on self-sustaining growth but on public sector and related employment financed by fiscal transfers from the more dynamic South. Such transfers have disguised but have not eliminated the old North-South divide.

WP304: FDI, Globalisation & Economic Development: Towards Reforming National & International Rules of the Game

Ajit Singh

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The key analytical and policy question examined in this paper is whether multinational companies and their overseas investment need to be regulated at the national or the international level, in order to address market failures, and to enhance their potential contribution to world welfare. The paper examines two kinds of regulatory regimes: first the current regime and second, a new regime proposed by the European community and Japan at the WTO (ECJ) to institute fresh global rules of the game which will effectively allow multinationals unfettered freedom to invest where they like, whenever they like, how much and in what products.

WP303: The ‘Capability’ Concept & The Evolution of European Social Policy

Simon Deakin

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Amartya Sen’s capability approach has the potential to counter neoliberal critiques of social welfare systems by overcoming the false opposition between security and flexibility. In particular, it can be used to promote the idea of social rights as the foundation of active participation by individuals in the labour market. This idea is starting to be reflected in the case law of the European Court of Justice concerning free movement of persons but its use in the European employment strategy is so far more limited, thanks to the continuing influence of neoliberal ‘activation policies’.

WP302: How Do Multinationals Build Social Capital? Diageo’s Corporate Citizenship Programme

David Bek, Ian W Jones and Michael J Pollitt

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This paper attempts to enhance understanding of the process by which multinationals build social capital by examining the Corporate Citizenship (CC) activities and associated social capital outcomes of the UK-based branded alcoholic drinks company, Diageo. The firm possesses a structured portfolio of CC initiatives and projects and has a long-standing tradition of community engagement. This paper examines Diageo’s CC strategy in depth and considers the ways that their engagements impact upon social capital development in different arenas. The forces driving social capital outcomes are considered and implications for companies and governments are offered.

WP301: Outside Entrepreneurial Capital

Douglas Cumming, Andy Cosh and Alan Hughes

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This paper investigates the internal versus external financing decisions among 1900 early stage privately held UK firms in 1996-1997.

WP300: Bankruptcy Law & Entrepreneurship

John Armour and Douglas Cumming

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Entrepreneurs, catalysts for innovation in the economy, are increasingly the object of policymakers’ attention. Recent initiatives both in the UK and at EU level have sought to promote entrepreneurship by reducing the harshness of the consequences of personal bankruptcy law. Whilst there is an intuitive link between the two, little attention has been paid to the question empirically. We investigate the link between bankruptcy and entrepreneurship using data on self employment over 13 years (1990-2002) and 15 countries in Europe and North America.

WP299: The Proprietary Foundations Of Corporate Law

John Armour and the late Michael J Whincop

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Recent work in both the theory of the firm and of corporate law has called into question the appropriateness of analysing corporate law as ‘merely’ a set of standard form contracts. This working paper develops these ideas by focusing on property law’s role in underpinning corporate enterprise.

WP298: R&D & Patenting Activity & the Propensity to Acquire in High Technology Industries

Panayotis Dessylla and Alan Hughes

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In this paper we investigate the incidence of high technology acquisitions using a large international sample of acquisitions by public high technology firms.