Arthur Stinchcombe's “liability of newness”: contribution and impact of the construct

Gianpaolo Abatecola (Department of Business Studies, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy)
Roberto Cafferata (Department of Business Studies, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy)
Sara Poggesi (Department of Business Studies, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Publication date: 21 September 2012

Abstract

Purpose

This conceptual paper aims at providing the readers of the Journal of Management History with an evaluation of the overall impact of Arthur Stinchcombe's liability of newness construct on the management literature about organizational evolution over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts an historical approach for discussing the development of those theoretical and empirical trajectories which, drawing on Stinchcombe's seminal underpinnings, have been developed by scholars over the second half of the twentieth century. The most recent enhancements on this topic are also discussed.

Findings

The analysis demonstrates that the impact of the liability of newness on the related literature is great and twofold. On the one hand, it emerges that this concept has directly inspired a number of subsequently formulated constructs, such as the liabilities of smallness, adolescence and aging. On the other hand, it is evidenced that Stinchcombe's seminal insights still constitute one of the most fascinating bases for directing and positioning scholarly efforts within the organizational evolution research domain to date.

Originality/value

The value of this paper is that it adopts a unique way for examining the development of a number of theoretical frameworks and empirical inquiries variously associated with the liability of newness over time. Three time decades are historically identified and the links among them are deepened.

Keywords

Citation

Abatecola, G., Cafferata, R. and Poggesi, S. (2012), "Arthur Stinchcombe's “liability of newness”: contribution and impact of the construct", Journal of Management History, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 402-418. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511341211258747

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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