Design Rules Volume 2: Chapter 2—Transactions in a Task Network

Design Rules Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations

25 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2020 Last revised: 15 Mar 2022

Date Written: August 12, 2020

Abstract

From the 1930s through today, many economists have conceived of large technical systems for the production of goods and services as a series of transactions. This point of view has led eminent economists to assert that transactions are the fundamental unit of analysis in the economic system.

This conceptualization has been very powerful, but it is also limiting. To truly understand the relationship between technology and organizations we must look “beneath” transactions at the full set of tasks and transfers that must take place to design and produce useful goods and services in an efficient way. The purpose of this chapter is to describe how transactions fit into a larger network of tasks and transfers and to identify the technological determinants of transaction costs.

Keywords: Technology, Organizations, Modularity

JEL Classification: L1, L2, O3

Suggested Citation

Baldwin, Carliss Y., Design Rules Volume 2: Chapter 2—Transactions in a Task Network (August 12, 2020). Design Rules Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3690565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3690565

Carliss Y. Baldwin (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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