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Title: Transaction space : an information based typology of firms
Author: Cook, Peter R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 6102
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2008
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The research explores the information variety processed in transactions between a firm and its customers, a contingency factor previously ignored in the literature but of increasing importance as businesses focus on customers and technology reduces the cost of information processing. Conceptualizing transactions as Markov chains of business acts the thesis develops, from a theoretical basis in cybernetics, three dimensions (Scale, Diversity & Complexity) which characterise the information variety. These dimensions delineate transaction space within which the firm's position provides a novel typology which integrates a range of structural and strategic theories from the literature, and is hypothesized to explain anomalies in organization design theories. By exaggerating each dimension three ideal type firms are defined and transaction space is operationalized using characteristics of these identified in the literature. On the basis of data collected by survey from a range of business units the research validates the typology and derives a set of theories which describe contingent relationships between the firm's strategy, structure, organisation and information technology and its position in transaction space. The total information variety processed by the firm is found to be bounded, and non-linearly related to business performance allowing the research to posit a cybernetic model of the firm's management processes. The thesis concludes by proposing further ideas which emerge from the application of the transaction space lens to organisation design theory, and suggests further areas for research which may benefit from the transaction space framework. Overall it shows that Transaction space provides both academic researchers and practitioners a framework which unifies theoretical strands, drawn from organisation theory and strategy, which exhibit the influence of the three dimensions and bases ideas about the firm and the way it changes on a so far neglected core aspect of the firm - what it actually does for its customers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available