Social Heuristics: Decision Making and Innovation in a Networked Production Market

57 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2010  

Thomas D. Beamish

University of California, Davis - Department of Sociology

Nicole Biggart

University of California, Davis - Graduate School of Management

Date Written: January 8, 2010

Abstract

In a study of failed innovation in the commercial construction industry we find that social heuristics - collectively constructed and maintained interpretive decision making frames - influence economic decision making practices and material outcomes. Social heuristics are widely institutionalized and commonly relied upon to reduce uncertainty in decision making; they provide actors with both a priori and ex post facto justifications for economic decisions that appear socially rational. In the commercial construction industry, social heuristics sustain market order but also discourage novel technologies and impede innovation. Social heuristics are actor-level constructs that reflect macro-level institutional arrangements and networked production relations. The concept of social heuristics offers the promise of developing a genuinely social theory of individual economic choice and action that is historically informed, contextually situated, and neither psychologically or structurally reductionist.

Suggested Citation

Beamish, Thomas D. and Biggart, Nicole, Social Heuristics: Decision Making and Innovation in a Networked Production Market (January 8, 2010). UC Davis Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 01-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1533429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1533429

Thomas D. Beamish (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Sociology ( email )

Davis, CA 95616
United States
+1 530 754 6897 (Phone)

Nicole Biggart

University of California, Davis - Graduate School of Management ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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