Path Dependence or Path Creation?

15 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2010

See all articles by Raghu Garud

Raghu Garud

Pennsylvania State University

Arun Kumaraswamy

Florida International University (FIU) - Department of Management & International Business

Peter Karnøe

Copenhagen Business School

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.

Suggested Citation

Garud, Raghu and Kumaraswamy, Arun and Karnøe, Peter, Path Dependence or Path Creation?. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 47, Issue 4, pp. 760-774, June 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1587121 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2009.00914.x

Raghu Garud (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

431 Business Bulding
Pennsylvania State University
State College, PA 16803
United States

Arun Kumaraswamy

Florida International University (FIU) - Department of Management & International Business ( email )

University Park
Miami, FL 33199
United States

Peter Karnøe

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

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