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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…
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.
Using a life course perspective, we develop a theoretical model of how parents can influence their children's propensity to enter self-employment. We draw on the…
Using a life course perspective, we develop a theoretical model of how parents can influence their children's propensity to enter self-employment. We draw on the sociological, economic, psychological, and behavioral genetics literatures to develop a model in which parental influence occurs in different ways, depending on someone's stage in their life course. We review and summarize existing findings for parental influences on entrepreneurial entry using a three-part life course framework: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. We also analyze new data from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics on the extent to which children were involved in their parents’ businesses. From our review, we propose strong effects from genetic inheritances and parenting practice (during childhood); moderate effects from reinforcement of work values and vocational interests (during adolescence); and little influence from financial support but stronger effects from other tangible means of support (during adulthood).
The purpose of this paper is to explore how cohesive/diverse networks affect entrepreneurial activities. In particular, an interest is shown in how cohesion and diversity…
The purpose of this paper is to explore how cohesive/diverse networks affect entrepreneurial activities. In particular, an interest is shown in how cohesion and diversity may affect entrepreneurial outcomes like survival, profitability, innovation and efficiency.
The paper organizes the literature and presents conclusions about the effects of cohesion and diversity using three stages of entrepreneurial activity: opportunity development, technology and organizational creation, and exchange.
At the opportunity stage, strong ties with entrepreneurs increase the likelihood of becoming one, but are associated with lower levels of innovation. Diverse ties increase self‐efficacy and innovation. At the technology and organizational creation stage, most entrepreneurial teams are homogeneous whereas team diversity is associated with better organizational outcomes. Using strong ties to recruit potential employees provides price and commitment advantages, but may interfere with efficiency. At the exchange stage, entrepreneurs must strike a balance between weak (market based) and stronger (embedded) ties to gain preferential access to resources and customers, while maintaining diverse sources for information and market opportunities. Overall, cohesion through strong ties provides entrepreneurs with hard to find resources very early in the development of new ventures, but those resources are limited in scope and have a high cost. By contrast, diversity is more common and more important later in a venture's life cycle.
Guidelines are suggested regarding the best networking strategies at the different stages and in different instrumental areas, offering an overall evaluation of the evidence in the cohesion v. diversity debate. Directions for future research on the effects of networks on entrepreneurial outcomes are also provided.
A summer spent at Stanford University in 1973 contributed significantly to my emerging perspective on organizations and generated the spark I needed to begin working on…
A summer spent at Stanford University in 1973 contributed significantly to my emerging perspective on organizations and generated the spark I needed to begin working on what became Organizations and Environments (Aldrich, 1979). Dick Scott invited me to be the second visiting scholar to participate in the Research Training Program on Organizations and Mental Health, following my Cornell colleague, Karl Weick, who had done it the year before. Curiously enough, Paul Hirsch, a former colleague of mine in graduate school, was the third visiting scholar in the program. I taught an organizational theory course to a class that included Chuck Snow, Kaye Schoonhoven, and a number of Mike Hannan and John Meyers' students. I suspect that I learned as much over those three months as did the students in my course.
Nations with high levels of economic inequality tend to have high rates of entrepreneurial activity. In this paper, we develop propositions about this relationship, based upon current research. Although we provide some descriptive analyses to support our propositions, our paper is not an empirical test but rather a theoretical exploration of new ideas related to this topic. We first define entrepreneurship at the individual and societal level and distinguish between entrepreneurship undertaken out of necessity and entrepreneurship that takes advantage of market opportunities. We then explore the roles that various causes of economic inequality play in increasing entrepreneurial activity, including economic development, state policies, foreign investment, sector shifts, labor market and employment characteristics, and class structures. The relationship between inequality and entrepreneurship poses a potentially disturbing message for countries with strong egalitarian norms and political and social policies that also wish to increase entrepreneurial activity. We conclude by noting the conditions under which entrepreneurship can be a source of upward social and economic mobility for individuals.
In our 1983 paper, McKelvey and I (McKelvey & Aldrich, 1983) took the field of “organization science” to task for not paying sufficient attention to the scope conditions…
In our 1983 paper, McKelvey and I (McKelvey & Aldrich, 1983) took the field of “organization science” to task for not paying sufficient attention to the scope conditions under which research findings are valid. (Today I would argue that the field also had not paid sufficient attention to matching theoretical ambitions with research designs.) We argued that the field fell short on three critical criteria: classifiability, generalizability, and predictability. We noted that samples of organizations were so poorly described that classifying them was impossible, that generalizations were being carelessly drawn, and that the predictive power of most theories was extremely weak.
Institutional theories of organizations in sociology have focused on exteriority and constraint over the past three decades, in keeping with their roots in macrosocial…
Institutional theories of organizations in sociology have focused on exteriority and constraint over the past three decades, in keeping with their roots in macrosocial theory (Parsons, 1956). These theories have mostly examined the macrocontext for organization- and field-level activities, rather than the microprocesses through which humans accomplish particular actions. However, with the widespread diffusion and adoption of neo-institutional theory (hereafter NIT) as the default framework within organizational sociology, some authors have been unable to resist extending it to encompass microlevel change processes. In particular, people studying entrepreneurship, broadly defined, have created a new category of actors, called institutional entrepreneurs (hereafter IEs), along with associated new concepts, such as embedded autonomy. Organization studies journals now routinely publish papers on the topic of institutional entrepreneurship (Leca & Naccache, 2006), and special sections of mainstream management journals also regularly feature such papers.