Historicism and Industry Emergence: Industry Knowledge from Pre-emergence to Stylized Fact

David Kirsch, Mahka Moeen, Dan Wadhwani

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    Management and organization scholars have increasingly turned to historical sources to examine the emergence and evolution of industries over time. This scholarship has typically used historical evidence as observations for testing theoretically relevant processes of industry emergence. In this chapter, an alternative approach is explored that focuses on reconstructing causes and processes that time and theory have erased. The emergence of three industries—plant biotechnology, savings banking, and the automobile—shows how time, along with prevailing functional models of industry evolution, leads to idiosyncratic ordering and reordering of historical evidence and thus systematically excludes developments and processes that do not fit expectations. It is established that historical methods and analytical narratives can serve as valuable complements to functional social scientific explanations in identifying excluded phenomena and explanations, reconstructing uncertainty and alternative paths of industry emergence, and studying the processes of information elision and exclusion in the formation of industry knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOrganizations in Time : History, Theory, Methods
    EditorsMarcelo Bucheli, Dan Wadhwani
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Publication date2014
    ISBN (Print)9780199646890
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Restricted admission to print
    • Historicism
    • Industry knowledge
    • Forgetting
    • Industry life cycle

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