, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 385–391 | Cite as

Causal and Constitutive Relations, and the Squaring of Coleman’s Diagram: Reply to Vromen

  • Peter AbellEmail author
  • Teppo Felin
  • Nicolai Foss
Original Article


We respond to Jack Vromen’s (this issue) critique of our discussion of the missing micro-foundations of work on routines and capabilities in economics and management research. Contrary to Vromen, we argue that (1) inter-level relations can be causal, and that inter-level causal relations may also obtain between routines and actions and interactions; (2) there are no macro-level causal mechanisms; and (3) on certain readings of the notion of routines and capabilities, these may be macro causes.


Constitutive Relation Causal Relation Strategic Management Macro Level Organizational Routine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abell, P. M., Felin, T., & Foss, N. J. (2008). Building microfoundations for the routines, capabilities and performance link. Managerial and Decision Economics, 29, 489–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker, M. (2004). Organizational routines: A review of the literature. Industrial and Corporate Change, 13, 643–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Craver, C. F., & Bechtel, W. (2007). Top-down causation without top-down causes. Biology and Philosophy, 22, 547–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cyert, R. M., & March, J. G. (1963). A behavioral theory of the firm. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Durlauf, S., & Young, H. P. (Eds.). (2001). Social dynamics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Feldman, M. S., & Pentland, B. T. (2003). Reconceptualizing organizational routines as a source of flexibility and change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48, 94–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hayek, F. A. (1945). The use of knowledge in society. American Economic Review, 35, 519–530.Google Scholar
  9. Manski, C. (1993). Identification of endogenous social effects: The reflection problem. Review of Economic Studies, 60, 531–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Schelling, T. C. (1971). Dynamic models of segregation. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 1, 143–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Schelling, T. C. (1998). Social mechanisms and social dynamics. In P. Hedström & R. Swedberg (Eds.), Social mechanisms: An analytical approach to social theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Vromen, J. (2010). Micro-foundations for strategic management: Squaring coleman’s diagram. Erkenntnis (this issue).Google Scholar
  13. Winter, S. G., & Szulanski, G. (2001). Replication as strategy. Organization Science, 12, 730–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Woodward, J. (2003). Making things happen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Economics and StrategyCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Management, School of EconomicsManagerial Economics and Strategy GroupLondonUK
  3. 3.Organizational Leadership and Strategy, Marriott SchoolBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  4. 4.Center for Strategic Management and GlobalizationCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Strategy and ManagementNorwegian School of Economics and Business AdministrationBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations