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Winter on Schumpeter on the firm: some issues of intertemporal continuity

Winter on Schumpeter on the firm: some issues of intertemporal continuity

Abstract

Industrial and Corporate Change, Volume 15, Number 1, pp. 143–144 doi:10.1093/icc/dtj007 Advance Access published February 3, 2006 Any paper of Sid Winter’s is provocative of new thinking. It is good to rescue this brief note of 1968, for it sets forth tersely but amply the knowledge implications of the organization of production in firms. If we follow Winter in examining seriously the neoclassical concept that the firm is the locus of productive knowledge, we learn that there are all sorts of ambiguities and partial degrees of knowledge. Further, the assumption that the state of knowledge is given cannot be maintained; there are intrinsic dynamics, so that the firm’s techniques are continually changing. The correctness of Sid Winter’s observations is not in any doubt. There is, of course, the problem of translating that insight into a usable model capable of yielding implications for prediction and policy. Since the paper was written, there has indeed been a lot of discussion in the literature of organization theory which emphasizes the role of firms in transmitting and acquiring knowledge (e.g., Nickerson and Zenger, 2004). In a way the cumulative impact of a firm’s decisions to acquire knowledge justifies the neoclassical identification of
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