Der Mikroökonomie werden oft ihre weltfremden Annahmen vorgeworfen, auf denen alle Modelle basieren. Industrial Organization ist der Versuch zu untersuchen, was passiert, wenn man die weltfremden Annahmen fallen lässt.
Kein perfekter Wettbewerb, Oligopole, Unternehmen und Spieltheorie, das sind einige der Bestandteile der Industrial Organization, der Untersuchung der Interaktion zwischen Unternehmen, Unternehmen und Markt und Unternehmen in Märkten. Einer der Wegbereiter der Industrial Organization ist Luis M. B. Cabral:
“Industrial organization is concerned with the workings of markets and industries, in particular the way firms compete with each other. The study of how markets operate, however, is the object of microeconomics: it has been said: ‘there is no such subject as industrial organization’ meaning that industrial organization is nothing but a chapter of microeconomics. The main reason for considering industrial organization as a separate subject is its emphasis on the study of the firm strategies that are characteristic of market interaction: price competition, product positioning, advertising, research and development, and so forth. Moreover, whereas microeconomics typically focuses on the extreme cases of monopoly and perfect competition, industrial organization is concerned primarily with the intermediate case of oligopoly, that is, competition between a few firms … For the preceding reasons a more appropriate definition of the field would be something like ‘economics of imperfect competition’. But the term industrial organization was adopted and we are not going to change it” (Cabral “Industrial Organization, p. 3).