In social theory, emergence is the process of novelty (1) creation, (2) growth, and (3) formation into a recognizable social object, process, or structure. Emergence is…
In social theory, emergence is the process of novelty (1) creation, (2) growth, and (3) formation into a recognizable social object, process, or structure. Emergence is recognized as important for the existence of novel features of society such as new organizations, new practices, or new relations between actors. In this introduction to the volume on emergence, we introduce a framework for examining emergence processes and theories that have been applied or can be applied to each of the three stages. We also review each volume chapter and discuss their relation to each other. Finally, we make suggestions on the future of research on social emergence processes.
Problemistic search is a central part of behavioral strategy because it is a fundamental step in the decision process leading to strategic change. Despite the significant research efforts so far, there is a gap in our understanding of search. Unlike the theory of myopic search, most research so far has emphasized search initiated by performance relative to aspiration levels on goals that are too broad to justify directing search toward the form of strategic change selected for investigation. In the following, I outline the foundation of an extended theory of problemistic search in response to broad goals through either broad search, use of multiple goals, use of power, reliance on cognitive biases, or responses to environmental stimuli. Each of these processes, alone or in combination, can give more specific predictions of where firms search when encountering performance below aspiration levels on broad goals. Substantial progress in empirical research is needed, however, to distinguish which of these processes occur.
Young adults are living and working in uncertain economic climates and increasingly exposed to precarious work. Are preferences for job security and actual job stability a…
Young adults are living and working in uncertain economic climates and increasingly exposed to precarious work. Are preferences for job security and actual job stability a result of proximal conditions, or do experiences in adolescence also play a role? The adolescent’s environment and experiences may help explain differences in preferences with regards to stable work, as well as work outcomes in early adulthood.
In this chapter, I use data from the Youth Development Study (YDS) to test three facets of the adolescent experience between ages 14 and 18 – parental work and educational characteristics, adolescents’ academic achievement, and youth employment – as factors shaping (1) respondents’ preferences for stable employment, (2) respondents’ perceived job insecurity, and (3) respondents’ likelihood of being in nonstandard work in early adulthood, age 31–32, approximately 15 years later.
Adolescent experiences and environments are related to young adults’ preferences for stable employment, likelihood of being in nonstandard work, and likelihood of reporting job insecurity in early adulthood, suggesting the significance of early life experiences as well as the importance of intergenerational transmission processes for the early adult years.
This study points to the important role of adolescent experiences in initiating a trajectory of work preferences and attainment.
Industry platforms can alter relations among exchange partners in such a way that the industry structure is changed. The focus of much industry platform research has been…
Industry platforms can alter relations among exchange partners in such a way that the industry structure is changed. The focus of much industry platform research has been on how platform creation and leadership offers advantages to the most central firms, but platforms can also be advantageous for small specialist firms that compete with the most central firms. We examine book publishing as an example of an industry in which the central players – large publishing firms – are losing power to self-publishing authors because the distributor Amazon has a powerful platform for customers to communicate independently, and the non-publishing platform Twitter also serves as a medium for readers to discuss and review books. Our empirical analysis is based on downloaded sales statistics for Amazon Ebooks, matched with Amazon reviews of the same books and tweets that refer to the book or the author. We analyze how Ebook sales are a function of publisher, Amazon reviews, and tweets, and we are able to assess the importance of each factor in the sale of book titles. The main finding is that Amazon reviews are powerful drivers of book sales, and have greater effect on the sales of books that are not backed by publishers. Twitter also affects book sales, but less strongly than Amazon reviews.
We examine the influence of the self-assessment and self-enhancement motives on the choice of comparison organizations in two experimental studies. Study 1 shows that: (1…
We examine the influence of the self-assessment and self-enhancement motives on the choice of comparison organizations in two experimental studies. Study 1 shows that: (1) self-assessment generally prevailed over self-enhancement, guiding decision makers to choose organizations that were more similar and had better performance; (2) self-enhancement was more pronounced under conditions of low performance, leading participants to more frequently choose organizations that were less similar and had lower performance; and (3) self-enhancing comparisons inhibited perceptions of failure and the propensity to make changes. Study 2 extends the results of Study 1 by showing that participants were more likely to choose comparison organizations that had lower performance and were less similar when they were in a self-enhancement mindset than when they were in a self-assessment mindset. The combined effects of self-assessment and self-enhancement on the choice of comparison organizations are discussed in relation to the broader organizational literature on learning from performance feedback.
Clusters of foreign manufacturing plants are traditionally explained by characteristics of the entry location such as immobile resources or agglomeration advantages, but…
Clusters of foreign manufacturing plants are traditionally explained by characteristics of the entry location such as immobile resources or agglomeration advantages, but an alternative explanation is that social or economic relations among firms in the home country facilitate interorganizational learning about entry locations. Such interorganizational learning reduces uncertainty, leading to heterogeneous diffusion of the plant location choices among organizations that are socially proximate in the home country. We examine this hypothesis through analysis of the effect of industry, lending ties, and board interlocks among Japanese firms on their entries into Europe, and find that shared industry and structural equivalence in the board interlock network are strong predictors of mimetic nation choice. The findings suggest that nation choices follow an innovation diffusion pattern, and that Japanese firms have paths of influence like those of U.S. firms.
Learning theory explains how organizations change as a result of experience, and can be used to predict the competitive strength of individual organizations and…
Learning theory explains how organizations change as a result of experience, and can be used to predict the competitive strength of individual organizations and competitive pressures in organizational populations. We review extant learning theoretical propositions on how competitive strength is affected by experienced competition, founding conditions, and observed failures of other organizations. In addition, we propose that niche changes are an important source of learning. We test these propositions on data from the Norwegian general insurance industry. We find that historical density increases failure rates, contrary to some earlier findings, and also that the effect of founding density supports the density delay rather than trial-by-fire hypothesis. We find that failures of others before and during the lifetime of the organization reduce failure rates, and niche changes reduce failure rates for joint-stock companies but not for mutual firms. Overall the findings suggest that organizations learn more cheaply from the failures of others than from their own experiences, and that the stresses of competition can overwhelm the learning effects of competition.