|Drawing on Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems, we analyse the importance of different styles of expectation (cognitive and normative) for global research and development cooperation in two industries: the pharmaceutical industry and the software industry. In our study, we find that contrary to Luhmann’s prediction in 1971, the normative expectation style still plays a vital role for the cooperative deals under examination. The second result of our study is that non-state mechanisms such as reputation, resource-dependency and trust are highly important for the stabilization of normative expectations in global business transactions. The role of the state-based legal system is reduced to stabilizing few, albeit crucial, normative expectations.
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