Business Research

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 155–176 | Cite as

Path Constitution Analysis: A Methodology for Understanding Path Dependence and Path Creation

  • Jörg Sydow
  • Arnold Windeler
  • Gordon Müller-Seitz
  • Knut Lange
Open Access
Article

Abstract

Although an increasing number of studies of technological, institutional and organizational change refer to the concepts of path dependence and path creation, few attempts have been made to consider these concepts explicitly in their methodological accounts. This paper addresses this gap and contributes to the literature by developing a comprehensive methodology that originates from the concepts of path dependence and path creation — path constitution analysis (PCA) — and allows for the integration of multi-actor constellations on multiple levels of analysis within a process perspective. Based upon a longitudinal case study in the field of semiconductors, we illustrate PCA ‘in action’ as a template for other researchers and critically examine its adequacy. We conclude with implications for further path-oriented inquiries.

References

  1. Abbott, Andrew (1992): What Do Cases Do?, in: Charles C. Ragin and Howard S. Becker (eds.): What is a Case?, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 53–82.Google Scholar
  2. Abbott, Andrew (1997): On the Concept of Turning Point, Comparative Social Research, 16: 85–106.Google Scholar
  3. Aguinis, Herman, Charles A. Pierce, Frank A. Bosco, and Ivan S. Muslin (2009): First Decade of Organizational Research Methods: Trends in Design, Measurement, and Data-Analysis Topics, Organizational Research Methods, 12 (1): 69–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ansari, Shahzad and Raghu Garud (2009): Inter-Generational Transitions in Socio-Technical Systems: The Case of Mobile Communications, Research Policy, 38 (2): 382–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Antonelli, Cristiano (1997): The Economics of Path-Dependence in Industrial Organization, International Journal of Industrial Organization, 15 (6): 643–675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Archer, Margaret S. (1995): Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Arthur, W. Brian (1989): Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events, The Economic Journal, 99 (394): 116–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Arthur, W. Brian (1994): Increasing Returns and Path Dependency in the Economy, University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  9. Barnes, William, Myles Gartland, and Martin Stack (2004): Old Habits Die Hard: Path Dependency and Behavioral Lock-In, Journal of Economic Issues, 38 (2): 371–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Baum, Joel A. C. and Brian S. Silverman (2001): Complexity, Attractors, and Path Dependence and Creation in Technological Evolution, in: Raghu Garud and Peter Karnøe (eds.): Path Dependence and Creation, Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ et al., 169–209.Google Scholar
  11. Bennett, Andrew and Colin Elman (2006): Complex Causal Relations and Case Study Methods: The Example of Path Dependence, Political Analysis, 14 (3): 250–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Beyer, Jürgen (2010): The Same or Not the Same: On the Variety of Mechanisms of Path Dependence, International Journal of Human and Social Sciences, 5 (1): 1–11.Google Scholar
  13. Bitektine, Alex (2008): Prospective Case Study Design: Qualitative Method for Deductive Theory Testing, Organizational Research Methods, 11 (1): 160–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Browning, Larry D. and Judy C. Shetler (2000): Sematech: Saving the U.S. Semiconductor Industry, Texas A&M University Press: College Station, TX.Google Scholar
  15. Carayannis, Elias G. and Jeffrey M. Alexander (2004): Strategy, Structure and Performance Issues of Precompetitive R&D Consortia: Insights and Lessons Learned From SEMATECH, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 51 (2): 226–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen, Ira J. (1989): Structuration Theory: Anthony Giddens and the Constitution of Social Life, St. Martin’s Press: New York, NY.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Collier, Ruth B. and David Collier (1991): Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America, Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  18. Creswell, John W. and Vicki L. Plano Clark (2007): Designing and Conducting: Mixed Methods Research, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA et al.Google Scholar
  19. Cusumano, Michael A., Yiorgos Mylonadis, and Richard S. Rosenbloom (1992): Strategic Maneuvering and Mass-Market Dynamics: The Triumph of VHS Over Beta, Business History Review, 66 (Special Issue 1): 51–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. David, Paul A. (1985): Clio and the Economics of QWERTY, American Economic Review, 75 (2): 332–337.Google Scholar
  21. David, Paul A. (2001): Path dependence, its critics and the quest for “historical economics”, in: Pierre Garrouste and Stavros Ioannides (eds.): Evolution and Path Dependence in Economic Idea: Past and Present, Elgar: Cheltenham, UK, 15–41.Google Scholar
  22. David, Paul A. (2007): Path Dependence: A Foundational Concept for Historical Social Science, Cliometrica, 1 (2): 91–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. DiMaggio, Paul J. and Walter W. Powell (1983): The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields, American Sociological Review, 48 (2): 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dobusch, Leonhard and Jakob Kapeller (2013): Striking New Paths: Theory and Method in Path Dependence Research, Schmalenbach Business Review, 65 (in print).Google Scholar
  25. Dosi, Giovanni (1982): Technological Paradigms and Technological Trajectories, Research Policy, 11 (3): 147–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dosi, Giovanni and Luigi Orsenigo (1988): Coordination and Transformation: An Overview of Structures, Behaviours and Change in Evolutionary Environments, in: Giovanni Dosi, Christopher Freeman, Richard Nelson, Gerald Silverberg, and Luc Soete (eds.): Technical Change and Economic Theory, Pinter: New York, NY, 13–37.Google Scholar
  27. Edmondson, Amy C. and Stacy E. McManus (2007): Methodological Fit in Management Field Research, Academy of Management Review, 32 (4): 1155–1179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Garud, Raghu and Peter Karnøe (2001): Path Creation as a Process of Mindful Deviation, in: Raghu Garud and Peter Karnøe (eds.): Path Dependence and Creation, Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ et al., 1–38.Google Scholar
  29. Garud, Raghu and Peter Karnøe (2003): Bricolage Versus Break through: Distributed and Embedded Agency in Technology Entrepreneurship, Research Policy, 32 (2): 277–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Garud, Raghu, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Peter Karnøe (2010): Path Dependence or Path Creation?, Journal of Management Studies, 47 (4): 760–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gephart, Robert P. (2004): Qualitative Research and the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, 47 (4): 454–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gibbert, Michael, Winfried Ruigrok, and Barbara Wicki (2008): What Passes as a Rigorous Case Study?, Strategic Management Journal, 29 (13): 1465–1474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Giddens, Anthony (1984): The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration, Polity Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  34. Giddens, Anthony (1989): A Reply to My Critics, in: David Held and John B. Thompson (eds): Social Theory of Modern Societies: Anthony Giddens and his Critics, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 249–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Glaser, Barney G. and Anselm L. Strauss (1967): The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research, Aldine: Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  36. Goulding, Christina (2005): Grounded Theory, Ethnography and Phenomenology, European Journal of Marketing, 39 (3/4): 294–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Granovetter, Mark (1985): Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness, American Journal of Sociology, 91 (3): 481–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gwyn, Chuck and Stefan Wurm (2009): EUV LLC: A Historical Perspective, in: Vivek Bakshi (ed.): EUV Lithography, SPIE Press: Bellingham, WA, 55–101.Google Scholar
  39. Hess, Sebastian, Daniela Kleinschmitt, Ludwig Theuvsen, Stephan von Cramon-Taubadel, and Ulrike Zschache (2010): Explaining Path Dependence Through Discourse Analysis: The Case of the Seasonal Farm Workers in Germany, in: Georg Schreyögg and Jörg Sydow (eds.): The Hidden Dynamics of Path Dependence, Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke et al., 197–216.Google Scholar
  40. Huber, George P. and Daniel J. Power (1985): Retrospective Reports of Strategic-Level Managers: Guidelines for Increasing Their Accuracy, Strategic Management Journal, 6 (2): 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jansen, Karen J. (2004): From Persistence to Pursuit: A Longitudinal Examination of Momentum During the Early Stages of Strategic Change, Organization Science, 15 (3): 276–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Jarzabkowski, Paula (2008): Shaping Strategy as a Structuration Process, Academy of Management Journal, 51 (4): 621–656.Google Scholar
  43. Jepperson, Ronald and John W. Meyer (2011): Multiple Levels of Analysis and the Limitations of Methodological Individualisms, Sociological Theory, 29 (1): 54–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jick, Todd D. (1979): Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods: Triangulation in Action, Administrative Science Quarterly, 24 (4): 602–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ketchen, David J., Brian K. Boyd, and Donald D. Bergh (2008): Research Methodology in Strategic Management: Past Accomplishments and Future Challenges, Organizational Research Methods, 11 (4): 643–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Koch, Jochen (2011): Inscribed Strategies: Exploring the Organizational Nature of Strategic Lock-In, Organization Studies, 32 (3): 337–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Koch, Jochen, Martin Eisend, and Arne Petermann (2009): Path Dependence in Decision-Making Processes: Exploring the Impact of Complexity Under Increasing Returns, Business Research, 2 (1): 67–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Krippendorff, Klaus (2004): Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA et al.Google Scholar
  49. Langley, Ann (1999): Strategies for Theorizing From Process Data, Academy of Management Review, 24 (4): 691–710.Google Scholar
  50. Langlois, Richard N. and W. Edward Steinmueller (1999): The Evolution of Competitive Advantage in the Worldwide Semiconductor Industry, 1947–1966, in: David C. Mowery and Richard R. Nelson (eds.): Sources of Industrial Leadership: Studies of Seven Industries, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 19–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Leblebici, Huseyin, Gerald R. Salancik, Anne Copay, and Tom King (1991): Institutional Change and the Transformation of Interorganizational Fields: An Organizational History of the U.S. Radio Broadcasting Industry, Administrative Science Quarterly, 36 (3): 333–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lincoln, Yvonna S. and Egon G. Guba (1985): Naturalistic Inquiry, Sage: Beverly Hills, CA et al.Google Scholar
  53. Linden, Greg, David C. Mowery, and Rosemarie H. Ziedonis (2000): National Technology Policy in Global Markets: Developing Next-Generation Lithography in the Semiconductor Industry, Business and Politics, 2 (2): 93–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mahoney, James (2001): The Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America, Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  55. Market Watch (2011): KLA-Tencor and SEMATECH Partner to Advance EUV Lithography Technology at UAlbany NanoCollege, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/kla-tencortm-and-sematech-partner-to-advance-euv-lithography-technology-at-ualbanynanocollege-2011-06-21 (Access date: 2011-08-24).Google Scholar
  56. Markoff, John (2000): Global Effort to Make Machines that Make Chips, New York Times, 2000-12-12.Google Scholar
  57. Martin, Xavier, Robert M. Salomon, and Zheying Wu (2010): The Institutional Determinants of Agglomeration: A Study in the Global Semiconductor Industry, Industrial and Corporate Change, 19 (6): 1769–1800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Mayntz, Renate (2004): Mechanisms in the Analysis of Social Macro-Phenomena, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 34 (2): 237–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. McGrath, Dylan and Mark LaPedus (2011): Analysis: Litho World Needs a Shrink, http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4213996/Analysis—Litho-world-needs-a-shrink (Access date: 2011-03-16).Google Scholar
  60. Meyer, Uli and Cornelius Schubert (2007): Integrating Path Dependency and Path Creation in a General Understanding of Path Constitution: The Role of Agency and Institutions in the Stabilisation of Technological Innovations, Science, Technology & Innovation Studies, 3 (1): 23–44.Google Scholar
  61. Moore, Gordon E. (1965): Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits, Electronics, 38 (8): 114–117.Google Scholar
  62. Müller-Seitz, Gordon and Jörg Sydow (2011): Terminating Institutionalized Termination: Why SEMATECH Became More Than a Temporary System, in: Gino Cattani, Simone Ferriani, Lars Frederiksen, and Florian Täube (eds.): Advances in Strategic Management: Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management, Emerald: Bingley, 147–186.Google Scholar
  63. North, Douglas C. (1990): Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Okada, Yoshitaka (2008): From Vertical to Horizontal Inter-Firm Cooperation: Dynamic Innovation in Japan’s Semiconductor Industry, Asia Pacific Business Review, 14 (3): 379–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Page, Scott (2006): Path Dependence, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 1 (1): 87–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Petermann, Arne (2010): Pfadabhängigkeit und Hierarchie: Zur Durchsetzungskraft von selbstverstärkenden Effekten in hierarchischen Organisationen, http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/receive/FUDISS_thesis_000000019882 (Access date:2012-04-14).Google Scholar
  67. Piekkari, Rebecca, Catherine Welch, and Eriikka Paavilainen (2009): The Case Study as Disciplinary Convention: Evidence From International Business Journals, Organizational Research Methods, 12 (3): 567–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pierson, Paul (2000): Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics, American Political Science Review, 94 (2): 251–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Pierson, Paul (2004): Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis, Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  70. Pratt, Michael G. (2008): Fitting Oval Pegs Into Round Holes. Tensions in Evaluating and Publishing Qualitative Research in Top-Tier North American Journals, Organizational Research Methods, 11 (3): 481–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Ragin, Charles C. (2006): Case-Oriented Comparative Methods, in: David de Vaus (ed.): Research Design: Vol. IV, Sage: London, 21–41.Google Scholar
  72. Rosen, Michael (1991): Coming to Terms With the Field: Understanding and Doing Organizational Ethnography, Journal of Management Studies, 28 (1): 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Schubert, Cornelius and Arnold Windeler (2007): Pfadkreationsnetzwerke aus methodischer Sicht, in: Hagen Hof and Ulrich Wengenroth (eds.): Innovationsforschung: Ansätze, Methoden, Grenzen und Perspektiven, Lit-Verlag: Hamburg et al., 117–126.Google Scholar
  74. Seale, Clive (1999): The Quality of Qualitative Research, Sage: London.Google Scholar
  75. SEMATECH (2010): Conferences and Events, http://www.sematech.org/meetings/events.htm (Access date: 2010-01-16).Google Scholar
  76. Street, Christopher T. and R. Brent Gallupe (2009): A Proposal for Operationalizing the Pace and Scope of Organizational Change in Management Studies, Organizational Research Methods, 12 (4): 720–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Suddaby, Roy (2006): From the Editors: What Grounded Theory is Not, Academy of Management Journal, 49 (4): 633–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Sydow, Jörg and Arnold Windeler (1998): Organizing and Evaluating Interfirm Networks: A Structurationist Perspective on Network Processes and Effectiveness, Organization Science, 9 (3): 265–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sydow, Jörg, Frank Lerch, and Udo Staber (2010): Planning for Path Dependence? The Case of a Network in the Berlin-Brandenburg Optics Cluster, Economic Geography, 86 (2): 173–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sydow, Jörg, Georg Schreyögg, and Jochen Koch (2009): Organizational Path Dependence: Opening the Black Box, Academy of Management Review, 34 (4): 689–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Sydow, Jörg, Arnold Windeler, Cornelius Schubert and Guido Möllering (2012): Organizing R&D Consortia for Path Creation and Extension: The Case of Semiconductor Manufacturing Technologies, Organization Studies, 33 (7): 907–936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Tashakkori, Abbas and Charles Teddlie (eds.) (2003): Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA et al.Google Scholar
  83. Valorinta, Mikko, Henri Schildt, and Juha-Antti Lamberg (2011): Path Dependence of Power Relations, Path-breaking Change and Technological Adaptation, Industry and Innovation, 18 (8): 765–790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Vergne, Jean-Philippe and Rodolphe Durand (2010): The Missing Link Between the Theory and Empirics of Path Dependence: Conceptual Clarification, Testability Issue, and Methodological Implications, Journal of Management Studies, 47 (4): 736–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Windeler, Arnold (2003): Kreation technologischer Pfade: ein strukturationstheoretischer Analyseansatz, in: Georg Schreyögg and Jörg Sydow (eds.): Strategische Prozesse und Pfade, Gabler: Wiesbaden, 295–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Windeler, Arnold and Jörg Sydow (2001): Project Networks and Changing Industry Practices: Collaborative Content Production in the German Television Industry, Organization Studies, 22 (6): 1035–1060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Yin, Robert K. (1981): The Case Study Crisis: Some Answers. Administrative Science Quarterly, 26 (1): 58–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Yin, Robert K. (2009): Case Study Research, 4th ed., Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA et al.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg Sydow
    • 1
  • Arnold Windeler
    • 2
  • Gordon Müller-Seitz
    • 1
  • Knut Lange
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ManagementFreie UniversitätBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institute of SociologyTechnische UniversitätBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Surrey Business SchoolUniversity of SurreyUK

Personalised recommendations