Economic organization concerns the coordination and exchange of resources. An “opportunity” is commonly understood as a chance, often a product of luck, to actively coordinate so as to generate above-normal rents that would not be forthcoming without such coordination. But somewhat of a logical conundrum is inherent in the equilibrium market hypothesis, evident in the following joke: Two economists were walking down the street. One of them spotted a hundred dollar bill and told his friend, who promptly replied “Nonsense! If there were, it would already have been picked up!”. In other words, since the equilibrium market hypothesis assumes that markets are complete — that is, that with perfect information and homogenous resources, the value and price of a resource will always be correctly determined by supply and demand. This means that opportunities do not exist. Acquiring resources in the present that generate an above-normal rent stream in the future can only be attributable to luck (cf. Barney, 1989). This chapter, like this book, challenges this assumption by looking at inter-organizational interaction, the “space” where opportunities are realized.
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