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Keywords:

  • concurrent sourcing;
  • make-or-buy decisions;
  • strategic sourcing;
  • transaction cost theory;
  • firm capabilities;
  • vertical integration

Abstract

Transaction cost economics, neoclassical economics, and the firm capabilities literatures propose theories of the firm that typically depict firm boundaries determined by a dichotomous choice: the make or buy decision. However, none of these theories presents a satisfying explanation as to why firms would concurrently source, i.e., simultaneously make and buy the same good. This study combines these organizational economics theories and compares when firms make, buy, and concurrently source through surveying small manufacturing firms. Support was shown for aspects of all three theories, with evidence indicating that concurrent sourcing is a distinctly different choice, rather existing along a make/buy continuum. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.