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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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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

An Open Elite

An Open Elite

Arbiters, Catalysts, or Gatekeepers in the Dynamics of Industry Evolution?

Chapter:
(p.466) 15 An Open Elite
Source:
The Emergence of Organizations and Markets
Author(s):

Walter W. Powell

Jason Owen-Smith

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691148670.003.0015

This chapter follows the trajectory of the life sciences into the present day, focusing on the larger question of industry or field evolution. In a field characterized by “gales of creative destruction,” the chapter considers how some types of organizations have managed to retain a position of centrality even as others exit and many newcomers arrive. It analyzes the emergence of a core group of organizations, diverse in form and function, which they label an “open elite.” The animating question is why this group of organizations, which constituted a structural backbone of the field, did not become ossified gatekeepers but remained active in expansive exploration. The answer is found in their multiconnectivity—the multiple, independent pathways that link research-focused organizations in a wide array of different activities.

Keywords:   open elite, life sciences, industry evolution, field evolution, expansive exploration, multiconnectivity, research-focused organizations

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