Governance of organisations : the test of networking
The network-firm has come to dominate over the last two decades as a new reference model in the industrial world. From the complex of reasons for this change, the following hypothesis may be identified : what moves businesses to outsource some of their activities and to « network » is a concern to better control productive activity. This hypothesis is tested in the field by identifying the reasons actors cite to explain such externalizing. From these observations a redefinition of the core business of network-firms is inferred – all justifications of externalization are based on this notion – and it is shown that the core competence is now more closely identified with a political skill dedicated to « network governance » than with technological skills strictly speaking. Lastly, this reasoning makes it possible to reconsider the question of the firm-as-institution by locating the boundaries of the firm at the perimeter, where the activity of « governing » the business is exercised.