NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Walter Powell

Stanford University

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Institutional Affiliation: Stanford University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2017Organizational Poisedness and the Transformation of Civic Order in Nineteenth-Century New York City
with Victoria Johnson
in Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, Naomi R. Lamoreaux and John Joseph Wallis, editors
The emergence of novelty, especially of new categories of people and organizations, is undertheorized in the social sciences. Some social worlds are more hospitable to novel introductions or exogenous perturbations than others. Explaining this relative “poisedness” is essential to understanding when and why new organizational forms appear, persist, and expand, both cognitively and geographically. We offer a comparative analysis of two cases of emergence in 19th-century New York City that examines the conditions under which a new organizational form—a research-intensive botanical garden—developed and took root. We show that social worlds are highly poised when environmental, intellectual, and civic factors have reinforcing consequences. Poisedness is amplified when the social character of t...
March 2015Poisedness and Propagation: Organizational Emergence and the Transformation of Civic Order in 19th-Century New York City
with Victoria Johnson: w21011
The emergence of novelty, especially of new categories of people and organizations, is undertheorized in the social sciences. Some social worlds are more hospitable to novel introductions or exogenous perturbations than others. Explaining this relative "poisedness" is essential to understanding when and why new organizational forms appear, persist, and expand, both cognitively and geographically. We offer a comparative analysis of two cases of emergence in 19th-century New York City that examines the conditions under which a new organizational form - a research-intensive botanical garden - developed and took root. We show that social worlds are highly poised when environmental, intellectual, and civic factors have reinforcing consequences. Poisedness is amplified when the social character ...
 
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