Theories explaining the meaning of corporate networks can be divided into two categories: functionalist theories explain networks by way of the economic and social functions they fulfill, while power or control theories view networks as instruments used to monopolize markets or to exclude potential competitors from these markets. Examples of functionalist theories are transaction cost theory, information theories, and resource dependency. This book offers a comprehensive analysis of corporate networks between major firms in the United States and five countries in Europe: Germany, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. In this introductory chapter, market regulation in the United States is discussed, along with cartels in Germany, network theories, institutional and cultural contingency, dependent and independent variables of corporate networks, and networks as institutions. The opportunities created by interlocking directorates and capital networks among large firms are also considered.
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