The Microfoundations Movement in Strategy and Organization Theory

Teppo Felin, Nicolai Juul Foss, Robert E. Ployhart

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Microfoundations have received increased attention in strategy and organization theory over the past decade. In this paper, we take stock of the microfoundations movement, its origins and history, and disparate forms. We briefly touch on similar micro movements in disciplines such as economics and sociology. However, our particular focus is on the unique features of the microfoundations movement in macro management. While the microfoundations movement in macro management does seek to link with more micro disciplines such as psychology and organizational behavior, it also features a unique set of questions, assumptions, theoretical mechanisms, and independent/dependent variables that complement the focus in the micro disciplines. We also discuss the disparate criticisms of the microfoundations literature and the challenges the movement faces, such as defining distinct theoretical and empirical programs for microfoundational research. The overall purpose of this manuscript is to clearly delineate the promise and uniqueness of microfoundations research in macro management, to discuss how the movement originated and where it is going, and to offer rich opportunities for future work.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAcademy of Management Annals
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)575-632
    Number of pages58
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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