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Path Dependence or Path Creation?

Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy and Peter Karnøe

Journal of Management Studies, 2010, vol. 47, issue 4, 760-774

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.

Date: 2010
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