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Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review

Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review,KATHLEEN M. EISENHARDT

Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review   (Citations: 1619)
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Agency theory is an important, yet controversial, theory. This paper reviews agency theory, its contributions to organization theory, and the extant empirical work and develops testable propositions. The conclusions are that agency theory (a) offers unique insight into in- formation systems, outcome uncertainty, incentives, and risk and (b) is an empirically valid perspective, particularly when coupled with complementary perspectives. The principal recommendation is to in- corporate an agency perspective in studies of the many problems having a cooperative structure. One day Deng Xiaoping decided to take his grandson to visit Mao. "Call me granduncle," Mao offered warmly. "Oh, I certainly couldn't do that, Chairman Mao," the awe-struck child replied. "Why don't you give him an apple?" suggested Deng. No sooner had Mao done so than the boy happily chirped, "Oh thank you, Granduncle." "You see," said Deng, "what in- centives can achieve." ("Capitalism," 1984, p. 62)
Published in 1989.
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