Matt Yglesias writes probably the best one paragraph summary of Coase's Theory of the Firm I've ever read.
"Why don't free agents just contract with one another for services as a means of economic cooperation? One reason, [Coase] argues convincingly, is that trying to spell out each and every obligation in contractual terms would be both laborious and absurdly inflexible. If you think about the way your workplace actually functions, people have roles and obligations vis-a-vis each other that are considerably richer and more nuanced than what's spelled out in legal documents. These roles evolve over time in various ways, but they also have some stability to them. The point is to create a space of collaborative endeavor that isn't dominated by constant lawyerly bickering."
Matt makes the point that the existence of Coasian implicit agreements between employers and employees that are too subtle and flexible to be specified as a formal contract could make buying out the firm to shirk on those tacit understandings profitable. This is thought-provoking, but just how likely is that? Missing in Matt's piece is any discussion of long term viability of firms susceptible to being bought out by someone primarily interested in milking the firm by breaking tacit agreements with employees. Is it not likely that these firms are being bought out because the existing management structure is not working, rendering the entire organization unsustainable? In that case all sorts of agreements, including existing Coasian tacit ones, are not viable, and cannot continue unchanged.