Microfoundations of Social Theory: A Response to Jepperson and Meyer

10 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2011 Last revised: 9 Jan 2015

See all articles by Teppo Felin

Teppo Felin

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Nicolai J. Foss

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology

Peter Malcolm Abell

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Interdisciplinary Institute of Management

Date Written: August 3, 2011

Abstract

In this essay we respond to Jepperson and Meyer’s (2011) critique of “action theories” and methodological individualism in sociology. We highlight fundamental problems with their argument, notably their misconception of methodological individualism(s) and the belief that this explanatory principle ignores — and is somehow invalidated by — the complex, “emergent” and multi-level nature of social phenomena. We focus on the need to specify and understand 1) component actors and social complexity, 2) theory of action, aggregation, and emergence, 3) self-selection and matching, and 4) process and the context of action. We concurrently critique Jepperson and Meyer’s own (implicit but highly problematic and under-specified) theory of action.

Keywords: micro-macro, multi-level theory, social theory, social aggregation

JEL Classification: A14, B25, E1, J24

Suggested Citation

Felin, Teppo and Foss, Nicolai J. and Abell, Peter Malcolm, Microfoundations of Social Theory: A Response to Jepperson and Meyer (August 3, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1904666 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1904666

Teppo Felin (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/teppofelin2/

Nicolai J. Foss

Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Peter Malcolm Abell

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Interdisciplinary Institute of Management ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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