Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States

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Harvard University Press, Feb 1, 1972 - Business & Economics - 176 pages
An innovator in contemporary thought on economic and political development looks here at decline rather than growth. Albert O. Hirschman makes a basic distinction between alternative ways of reacting to deterioration in business firms and, in general, to dissatisfaction with organizations: one, “exit,” is for the member to quit the organization or for the customer to switch to the competing product, and the other, “voice,” is for members or customers to agitate and exert influence for change “from within.” The efficiency of the competitive mechanism, with its total reliance on exit, is questioned for certain important situations. As exit often undercuts voice while being unable to counteract decline, loyalty is seen in the function of retarding exit and of permitting voice to play its proper role. The interplay of the three concepts turns out to illuminate a wide range of economic, social, and political phenomena. As the author states in the preface, “having found my own unifying way of looking at issues as diverse as competition and the two-party system, divorce and the American character, black power and the failure of ‘unhappy’ top officials to resign over Vietnam, I decided to let myself go a little.”

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User Review  - ben_a - LibraryThing

Hirshman's analysis of the role of exit and voice in institutional change is, I suspect, more referenced than read. There's a lot of not terribly good economics here, which lards up an already thin ... Read full review


Introduction and Doctrinal Background
A Special Difficulty in Combining Exit and Voice
How Monopoly Can be Comforted by Competition
A Theory of Loyalty
Exit and Voice in American Ideology and Practice
The Elusive Optimal Mix of Exit and Voice
A A simple diagrammatic representation of voice and exit
The reversal phenomenon
design for an experiment

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