(Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)
Outsourcing War: The Evolution of the Private Military Industry after the Cold War
Anita McGAHAN, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Abstract: In this paper, we study the evolution of private military corporations (PMCs), which are for-profit organizations that subcontract military field services to sovereign authorities as well as to others. Between Eisenhower’s famous “military-industrial complex” speech in 1961 and the post-9/11 war in Iraq, PMCs were transformed from relatively minor subcontractors to major companies with unique capabilities that made them strategically central to the sovereign military organizations from which they had grown. Throughout this period, PMCs exhibited a “hybrid organizational form” as delineated within organizational economics. Our purpose is grounded theorizing in which we derive insights about the evolution of PMCs as hybrid organizational forms. Our analysis suggests that hybrid forms of organization enable transactions and capability development that are not possible within either markets or hierarchies. Hybrid forms may thus represent a conduit for institutional entrepreneurship and the emergence of new industry structures. Their intertemporal characteristics warrant further theoretical study.