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Heterogeneity of plural forms and its drivers


This research project is part of the literature seeking to explain the ways by which firms should organize the obtention (or distribution) of inputs (products). It expands traditional Transaction Cost Economics (ECT) to explain the so-called plural forms - i.e., the coexistence of alternative organizational modalities to organize similar transactions - and addresses two inter-related and yet little explored challenges. First, we show that the heterogeneity of plural forms transcends the "make and buy" logic so frequently discussed in the literature, encompassing the coexistence of a wide variety of forms, such as markets and formal contracts, formal contracts and vertical integration , relational contracts and formal contracts etc. The first challenge to be addressed by the present research project, therefore, is understanding the motivators of this diversity. We intended to specifically explore the percentage of input (product) that is obtained (distributed) through each organizational arrangement within the plural form. Going further in this direction, we intend to introduce a temporal perspective to this debate. Once the determinants of the percentages of each organizational form composing the plural forms are known, how should plural forms vary over time, as these determinants vary? How does this heterogeneity of organizational arrangements change over time? To answer these questions, we both develop clinical case studies (Baker & Gil, 2012) firms operating in the fine cocoa sector in Southern Bahia which sell the product to the main firms in the chocolate business in the State of São Paulo; and longitudinal studies in the cocoa chain. The results are analyzed using the NVivo software. (AU)

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