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Path Dependence or Path Creation?

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  • Raghu Garud
  • Arun Kumaraswamy
  • Peter Karnøe

Abstract

We discuss the assumptions that underlie path dependence, as defined by Vergne and Durand, and then provide the outlines of an alternative perspective which we label as path creation. Path creation entertains a notion of agency that is distributed and emergent through relational processes that constitute phenomena. Viewed from this perspective, 'initial conditions' are not given, 'contingencies' are emergent contexts for action, 'self-reinforcing mechanisms' are strategically manipulated, and 'lock-in' is but a temporary stabilization of paths in-the-making. We develop these points using a narrative approach and highlight the theoretical and methodological implications of our perspective. Copyright (c) 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Raghu Garud & Arun Kumaraswamy & Peter Karnøe, 2010. "Path Dependence or Path Creation?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 760-774, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:4:p:760-774
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raghu Garud & Arun Kumaraswamy & V. Sambamurthy, 2006. "Emergent by Design: Performance and Transformation at Infosys Technologies," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(2), pages 277-286, April.
    2. Daniel Kahneman & Dan Lovallo, 1993. "Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk Taking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 17-31, January.
    3. Caroline A. Bartel & Raghu Garud, 2009. "The Role of Narratives in Sustaining Organizational Innovation," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(1), pages 107-117, February.
    4. Kevin J. Dooley & Andrew H. Van de Ven, 1999. "Explaining Complex Organizational Dynamics," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(3), pages 358-372, June.
    5. Haridimos Tsoukas & Robert Chia, 2002. "On Organizational Becoming: Rethinking Organizational Change," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(5), pages 567-582, October.
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13443 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Baker, Ted & Miner, Anne S. & Eesley, Dale T., 2003. "Improvising firms: bricolage, account giving and improvisational competencies in the founding process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 255-276, February.
    8. Jean-Philippe Vergne & Rodolphe Durand, 2010. "The Missing Link Between the Theory and Empirics of Path Dependence: Conceptual Clarification, Testability Issue, and Methodological Implications," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 736-759, June.
    9. Karl E. Weick, 1998. "Introductory Essay—Improvisation as a Mindset for Organizational Analysis," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(5), pages 543-555, October.
    10. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
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