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Research Program


The central idea of the doctoral program is to investigate processes of path dependence, path breaking, and path creation in and between organizations. These are to be examined in predominantly empirical subprojects on the following four levels of analysis: (1) individual/dyad/group,
(2) organization,
(3) interorganizational relations/networks, and
(4) society (including industry and region),
whereby special attention is to be paid to the interdependence between these levels.

Against this background, the three fundamental research fields of the doctoral program can be stated as follows: 
  • Firstly, the meaning of path dependence at an organizational and inter-organizational level is to be explored and understood.
  • Secondly, the possibilities for breaking organizational paths and their restriction on these levels and in the context of interaction of these levels are to be examined.
  • Thirdly - and the furthest-reaching in the sense of “path management” - the general possibility of a purposeful creation of organizational paths in and between organizations will be explored.

Several subprojects are intended for each of these three research areas. These are arranged in line with the analysis levels specified above. Possible research topics would be:

  • Emergence and development of consumer branding as path dependence
  • Reasons for emergence and development of strategic paths in organizations (intensive case studies)
  • Paths and path breaking in the field of knowledge management
  • Path breaking through site relocation?
  • The role of different cultures of firm networks in the creation of new inter-organizational paths


Basic Literature

ARTHUR, B. (1989): Competing technologies, increasing returns, and lock-in by historical events, in: Economic Journal 99, 116-131.

DAVID, P. (1985): Clio and the economics of QWERTY, in: American Economic Review 75, 332-337.

GARUD, R./KARNØE, P. (HRSG.) (2001): Path Dependence and Creation, London.

SCHREYÖGG, G./SYDOW, J. (HRSG.) (2003): Managementforschung 13: Strategische Prozesse und Pfade, Wiesbaden.