John R. Commons

Andrew H. Van de Ven and Arik Lifschitz

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199535231
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

 John R. Commons

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This article focuses on a review of The Economics of Collective Action. It is logically the first book for understanding Commons's thought, for in it Commons presented a simplified statement of issues that he had argued more fully in The Legal Foundations of Capitalism (1924) and Institutional Economics (1934a). Although complex and difficult to comprehend in a single reading, the work of Commons provides a treasury of suggestions for those who seek insight and inspiration in dealing with issues of institutional innovation and change. This article presents an interpretation of the work of John R. Commons and its relevance for current developments in organization studies. The first part of the article summarizes Commons's pioneering perspective on institutions and institutional change. Based on this review, it discusses some implications of Commons's ideas for advancing contemporary approaches to the study of organizations.

Keywords: John R. Commons; The Economics of Collective Action; institutional innovation; institutional change; organization studies; contemporary research

Article.  10811 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business History

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