How is technological change affecting the nature of the corporation?

Birkinshaw, J (2018) How is technological change affecting the nature of the corporation? Journal of the British Academy, 6 (s1). pp. 185-214. ISSN 2052-7217 OPEN ACCESS


This paper examines how the ‘digital revolution’ (enabled by exponential increases in processing power and connectivity) is bringing about fundamental changes to the size and scope of firms, and to how they are organised and managed. The large, vertically integrated firms of the industrial era are being superseded by narrower, more specialised, firms that link buyers and sellers through digital ‘platforms’. The traditional bureaucratic ways of organising that were invented in the industrial era are gradually being replaced with flatter and more fluid ways of organising. The consequences of these changes are discussed, with a particular focus on public policy. Many of the current tensions between governments and big digital firms—for example, in terms of competition policy, intellectual property rules, and labour laws—are the result of a disconnect between regulations developed during the industrial era and the demands of firms operating by digital era norms. The paper identifies opportunities for institutional innovations to resolve these tensions.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Additional Information:

The Journal of the British Academy is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019 16:33
Date of first compliant deposit: 09 Sep 2019
Subjects: Corporate planning
Technological innovation
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 01:43
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