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Business PersonsA Legal Theory of the Firm$
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Eric W. Orts

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670918

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670918.001.0001

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The Nomenclature of Enterprise: A Taxonomy of Modern Business Firms

The Nomenclature of Enterprise: A Taxonomy of Modern Business Firms

(p.175) 5 The Nomenclature of Enterprise: A Taxonomy of Modern Business Firms
Business Persons

Eric W Orts

Oxford University Press

This chapter first provides a background understanding of firms as participating in “production metamarkets” that serve widespread and usually global “consumption markets.” It then presents a menu of legal forms of private firms, including corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies, as well as state-owned enterprises. The choice of legal forms creates many variations on the traditional “black box” of the firm along the primary dimensions of agency authority and property ownership. The names used for different enterprises are described, ranging from sole proprietorships to complex relational firms. Basic principles of organizational law distinguish business firms from other kinds of social entities, including political governments and nonprofit organizations. The chapter outlines the importance of these distinctions and provides an overview of the main choices of legal forms available to business participants, entrepreneurs, and other enterprise-organizers. New hybrid social enterprises, such as benefit or “B” corporations, are covered as well.

Keywords:   production metamarkets, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, state-owned enterprises, sole proprietorships, complex relational firms, entrepreneurs, hybrid social enterprises, benefit corporations

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