Next up in my series of columns about the great academic thought leaders who were seminal in the development and success of modern outsourcing are two of my favorite game theorists: the mathematician and Nobel laureate John F. Nash, who took economists a step or two beyond Adam Smith with his ideas on game theory and the art of collaborating, or playing together nice, for the win-win; and Robert Axelrod, who verified the beauty of cooperation through his early work with computers to solve a classic game theory behavioral experiment.
This week’s column focuses on big thinker Ronald Coase. Coase, a giant of modern economic science and 1991 Nobel laureate helps us understand a key fundamental of business: that business (and outsourcing decisions) are a math problem.
While outsourcing has been in the limelight for some 20 years, various threads of economic thought and research stretching for more than 80 years planted the seeds of modern outsourcing, centering on growth theory, transaction costs, game theory, property rights, deregulation and the nature of the firm.
This article originally appeared in Outsource Magazine Issue #23 Spring 2011
Leading academics charted a path that challenges the conventional definition of winning. Smart companies are applying these concepts, showing that win-win thinking is not just something nice to say: it’s smart business – and really is beautiful…
What does Adam Smith tell us about outsourcing? The answer is somewhat complicated: Nothing directly, but then again everything.
Over the last five years I have been privileged to have funded research in partnership with the University of Tennessee and the United States Air Force to study outsourcing with the challenge to find a better way to outsource.