Overarching management theories applicable to legal departments

Theoretically, theories can explain many aspects of legal department functions (See my post of Dec. 7, 2008 #2: theories referred to on this blog.). Theories abound for all kinds of perspectives, so I thought I would highlight at least nine of them referred to on this blog.

How to track, explain, or predict the inter-locking activities of a legal department — complexity theory (See my post of Aug. 24, 2009: ill-defined term; Dec. 19, 2005: complexity; and Feb. 18, 2006 #3: origins of Complexity Theory.).

How employees and law firms relate to those who supervise them — agency theory (See my post of April 21, 2010: agency theory with 7 references and 1 meta.).

How one side never knows as much as the other side — information asymmetry theory (See my post of Sept. 7, 2008: information asymmetry with 7 references.).

How interacting or competing people decide strategy — game theory (See my post of March 16, 2008: game theory with 6 references.).

How abilities exist and develop among employees — human capital theory (See my post of Aug. 14, 2009: human capital with 10 references.)

How information is communicated and understood — information theory (See my post of May 23, 2008 #4: information theory; May 23, 2008: every relay doubles the noise and cuts the message in half; March 6, 2009 #1: diminishment of information with each transmission; July 17, 2009: applications of information theory; and April 27, 2010: Claude Shannon and applications.).

How employees exchange information — social network theory (See my post of Dec. 19, 2005: not in list of top ten business concepts of decade; Nov. 6, 2006: organizational network analysis; March 9, 2007 #3: organizational network analysis; Jan. 25, 2009: how decisions are made; Jan. 25, 2009: article on network analysis; and Jan. 25, 2009: networks and process maps.).

How all the pieces of a legal department, internal and external, fit together — systems theory (See my post of Aug. 28, 2005: systems theory and McKinsey 7S.).

How managers decide on a cost basis whether to make or buy — transaction cost theory (See my post of Nov. 19, 2009: Coasian analysis with 6 references.).

My toe here has dipped into the water of a very deep pool. Every discipline has oodles of theories. Just leaf through a text on organizational dynamics, anthropology, psychology, economics, or sociology (See my post of June 14, 2009: queuing theory; Sept. 5, 2007: Normal Accident; Jan. 8, 2008: normal accident theory; and Aug. 3, 2009: embeddedness theory.).

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