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Building the Flexible FirmHow to Remain Competitive$
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Henk W. Volberda

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198295952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198295952.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Building the Flexible Firm

Henk W. Volberda

Oxford University Press

During the past decades, several corporations have undergone a wide variety of different organizational experiments such as downsizing corporations, outsourcing and subcontracting non-core activities, re-engineering the business process, implementing manufacturing systems that are more flexible, constructing information systems that are useful for several purposes, and other such modifications. Practitioners and teachers alike have found these experiments to comprise the emergence of a ‘flexible firm’, as they believe that every organization requires flexibility. However, the ability of an organization to appropriately respond to changes in the competitive environment is hindered by traditional bureaucratic firms. Although flexible firms would allow adjustment to such changes, the question remains about whether the experiments are interrelated. In this chapter, we introduce the strategic approach in looking into the misconceptions associated with flexibility while also providing the framework that this book follows.

Keywords:   corporations, organizational experiments, flexible firm, traditional bureaucratic firm, strategic approach

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