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The Emergence of Organizations and Markets$
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John F. Padgett and Walter W. Powell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148670

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148670.001.0001

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The Problem of Emergence

The Problem of Emergence

(p.1) 1 The Problem of Emergence
The Emergence of Organizations and Markets

John F. Padgett

Walter W. Powell

Princeton University Press

This chapter elaborates on a theory of the co-evolution of social networks—a synthesis of social science and biochemistry—and shows its empirical significance for the study of human organizations. First, the chapter describes the problem of organizational novelty in the context of multiple social networks. Second, the core dynamic motor of autocatalysis both at the level of chemical and economic production and at the level of the biographical production of persons through interactive learning, communication, and teaching is explained. Third, the chapter describes eight network mechanisms of organizational genesis that have been discovered in this volume's case studies. Finally, it points to the important outstanding issue of structural vulnerability to tipping.

Keywords:   social networks, social science, biochemistry, human organizations, organizational novelty, social networks, autocatalysis, organizational genesis, structural vulnerability, tipping

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