Revisiting “Traits to Rates” After 25 Years: Organizational Ecology’s Limited Impact on Entrepreneurship Research

Seminal Ideas for the Next Twenty-Five Years of Advances

ISBN: 978-1-78973-262-7, eISBN: 978-1-78973-261-0

ISSN: 1074-7540

Publication date: 19 June 2019

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors investigate the degree to which organizational ecology (OE) had a long-term impact on the way scholars study organizational foundings. Dubbed the “rates” approach by Aldrich and Weidenmayer (1993), OE argued that organizational foundings depend on intra- and inter-population processes such as organizational density, prior foundings, and prior disbandings. It de-emphasized the personal characteristics of founders and entrepreneurs – the “traits” approach. The analyses reveal that OE had limited impact, especially after the mid-2000s. OE’s limited appeal is partially explained by its lack of influence on scholars outside its orbit of influence and/or those publishing in non-sociology journals. In contrast to OE’s slight long-term impact, the authors argue that another perspective that was attuned to environmental conditions – new institutional theory (NIT) – has had greater success in influencing scholars studying foundings. The authors speculate that OE’s impact was ultimately limited because it was embedded in a relatively exclusive scholarly community, compared to NIT’s more inclusive scope.

Keywords

Citation

Al-Turk, A. and Aldrich, H. (2019), "Revisiting “Traits to Rates” After 25 Years: Organizational Ecology’s Limited Impact on Entrepreneurship Research", Katz, J. and Corbet, A. (Ed.) Seminal Ideas for the Next Twenty-Five Years of Advances (Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, Vol. 21), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 99-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1074-754020190000021004

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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