Harnessing Big Data for a Multifunctional Theory of the Firm

European Management Journal, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 54-61, February 2020

15 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2020

See all articles by Steffen Roth

Steffen Roth

La Rochelle Business School; University of Turku

Peter Schwede

Independent

Vladislav Valentinov

Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe

Miguel Perez Valls

University of Almeria

Jari Kaivo-Oja

Turku School of Economics & Business Administration

Date Written: February 02, 2020

Abstract

This paper explores the potential of big data, such as those compiled by the Google Books project, to inform the dominant theories of the firm that tend to be grounded on strong assumptions about the capitalist nature of the modern society. Combining the novel methodologies of the digital age with Niklas Luhmann’s theory of functional differentiation, we draw on big data-driven abductive reasoning to redirect the attention of management scholars away from the dominant contract-based and competence theories of capitalist firms toward organizations navigating the regime of functional differentiation, which is marked by contingent and historically evolving prominence of individual function systems. We conclude that this navigation requires appropriate strategic management tools which are no longer primarily geared to the economic function system but rather entail a radical reconfiguration of the firm as a multifunctional organization.

Keywords: Big data, theories of the firm, Google Books project, functional differentiation, business environment, social macro trends

Suggested Citation

Roth, Steffen and Schwede, Peter and Valentinov, Vladislav and Perez Valls, Miguel and Kaivo-Oja, Jari, Harnessing Big Data for a Multifunctional Theory of the Firm (February 02, 2020). European Management Journal, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 54-61, February 2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3536284

Steffen Roth (Contact Author)

La Rochelle Business School ( email )

102 rue de Coureilles
Les Minimes
La Rochelle, 17024
France

University of Turku ( email )

Assistentinkatu 7
Turku, 20014
Finland

Peter Schwede

Independent ( email )

No Address Available
United States

Vladislav Valentinov

Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe ( email )

Germany

Miguel Perez Valls

University of Almeria ( email )

La Cañada de San Urbano s/n
Almería, Almería 040120
Spain

Jari Kaivo-Oja

Turku School of Economics & Business Administration ( email )

Rehtorinpellonkat 3
FIN-20500 Turku
Finland

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