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Challenging the Traditional Notions of Piracy

Ivey Professor Examines the Impact of Piracy on Capitalism Throughout the Ages

LONDON, ON, Dec. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - When capitalism spread along the trade routes toward the Indies, when radio opened an era of mass communication, when the Internet became part of the global economy, pirates were there.  Although most people see pirates as solitary anarchists out to destroy capitalism, it turns out the opposite is true. They are the ones who forge the path.

In THE PIRATE ORGANIZATION: Lessons from the Fringes of Capitalism, published by Harvard Publishing, Ivey Professor Jean-Philippe Vergne and HEC-Paris Professor Rodolphe Durand reveal that pirates are not discontented, mythical figures, but in fact, have always formed complex and sophisticated organizations that both challenge and change the course of capitalism. Throughout history pirate organizations have behaved in predictable ways: challenging widespread norms; controlling resources, communication, and transportation; maintaining trade relationships with other communities; and formulating strategies favoring speed and surprise. And firms, non-profit organizations, and governmental bodies can learn from them.

Vergne and Durand suggest rather than trying to stamp out piracy, savvy entrepreneurs and organizations should keep a sharp eye on the pirate space to stay successful as the game changes.

The book is written for those who think about industry evolution, corporate strategy and values, and those interested in thinking more deeply about how capitalism is changing. THE PIRATE ORGANIZATION provides a rigorous yet engaging analysis of the history of piracy—from the classic pirates of the Barbary Coast to today's digital and DNA pirates—coupled with lessons on how businesses should change their behavior.

First published in French to great critical acclaim and commercial success as L'Organisation Pirate: Essai sur l'évolution du capitalisme, this book shows that piracy is not random. It's predictable, it cannot be separated from capitalism, and it likely will be the source of capitalism's continuing evolution.

Jean-Philippe Vergne is an assistant professor of strategy at the Richard. Ivey School of Business at Western University. His ongoing research on the global arms industry received the Grigor McClelland doctoral dissertation award. Rodolphe Durand is the GDF-Suez professor of strategy at HEC-Paris. He received the European Academy of Management/Imagination Lab Award for Innovative Scholarship 2010 and is a visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School. His works have been published widely in academic journals.

About the Richard Ivey School of Business
The Richard Ivey School of Business ( at Western University is Canada's leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today's complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.

SOURCE Richard Ivey School of Business

Image with caption: "JP Vergne and Rodolphe Durand explore how pirate organizations, through their defense of alternative rules of exchange, contribute to altering the functioning of capitalist societies. By producing new norms, pirates guide the renewal of capitalism and shape the emergence of new industries. (CNW Group/Richard Ivey School of Business)". Image available at:

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