Selected recent texts and publications.
Re-Valueing the Self (Sharon (MIT) and Vasquez)
Workforce Development Policies (co-author)
The Dilemma of Ruminating
Finding Work in America
The Problem with Medical Entertainment
Making Medical Decisions
Since the writings of Enlightenment thinkers, innovation has become a quality deemed as one of the main principles lending to the advancement of humanity. It has been a vehicle for expressing our distinction from other animals, primarily by illustrating how we exhibit a sophisticated level of ability to reason. Innovation has also been heralded for its capacity to make living conditions more comfortable, lending to the praise of modernity. The invention of the light bulb, railroad system, and smartphone are considered major technological advancements to human living conditions, transportation and communication. Innovation inspires dreams of the future, from what urban environments may evolve to medicine for superhuman potential. However, the thought of innovation being an indicator of progress is a rather novel concept that dates back to 18th century. During the Age of Enlightenment, the importance of rational thought became valued as a useful tool for human progress, an important quality that humans possessed over the animal kingdom. In the words of Weber, The Enlightenment inspired the perspective that innovation leads to progress because humans are able to master “all things” through calculation (Weber, 1958, p. 117). This way of interpreting the value of innovation has become important to the study of entrepreneurship and invention ethos. Progress of humanity has become measured based on technological innovation, and mass diffusion through industry. As Giannella (2015) argues, this kind of progress has been morally conceptualized as creating a better world for everyone. As such, innovation assumes the possibility for a better world.
Understanding innovation in contemporary society carries an important task, one that is primarily concerned with mapping the sociological dimensions of its presence. While innovation may be argued as a novel cultural item, it is also breeds a culture in and of itself. The work of sociologists attempting to understand the culture of Silicon Valley, a location spurring tremendous technology innovation within the past 30 years, is one example of how economic sociologists seek to frame innovation processes as a cultural phenomenon (i.e., Granovetter, 2009; Rao, 2008). It’s significance in the broader sociological literature, however, is important because it aids in understanding the complex dimensions of a capitalist society. Innovation dictates the coming of new markets, the shaping of existing ones, and the maintenance of marketplace competition. Therefore, to understand a capitalist society--a market society (Polanyi, 1944)--means that innovation must be interrogated as one important unit of analysis.
In this paper, I present the most seminal works in economic sociology on innovation. In doing this, larger questions surrounding progress and humanity are contextualized by advancing an understanding of how social processes create an environment for innovation. Within the current body of sociological literature, there have been major advancements to understanding how innovation occurs and is adopted, unraveling since Schumpeter’s concept of recombinatorial innovation. The first section of this paper covers a more product-centric view of innovation. This view considers the processes of negating or advancing previous technological patents, as well as the diffusion of innovation. Schumpeter, an Austrian economist, left much for economic sociologists to consider during the early 20th century when industrial innovation was sustaining continued growth. As a consequence, theories surrounding what is innovation? was the main goal of sociologists, such as Gilfillan and Ogburn.
Following the introduction to the sociology of innovation and early theorizing, I cover the works of sociologists seeking to understand innovation diffusion. Rural sociology was an unsuspecting leader in the field of innovation diffusion, beginning with Ryan and Gross’s (1943) research on the adoption of hybrid corn seeds. The research findings of this study highlighted the importance of mass communication and social networks during the adoption process, while also stressing the significance of history and the passage of time in innovation adoption. Ryan and Gross’s work, among others, provided an entry to asking questions surrounding social processes and social networking. Social network theorists have mostly dominated the discourse on innovation because of the major contributions of their empirical studies. Ferrary and Granovetter (2009), Obstfeld (2005), Burt (2004), among others, provided explanations of social networking phenomena lending to innovation processes. However, sociologists have also paid attention to the importance of institutional forces in shaping innovation processes and adoption, conjuring curiosity into the roles that concepts such as legitimacy signaling play in innovation diffusion.
As a result of this review, I contend that new directions for theorizing innovation ought to consider the role of the public for spurring or halting innovation. If a methodical explanation cannot be provided, then we are left to think that the phenomena is unexplainable, or too random. As I see it, much of the innovation surrounding computer technology is of immense contemporary significance because of its volume and reach, stemming from Silicon Valley and extending to a global market. Computer technology has created new markets that have proliferated the number of entrants that seek market share each quarter. In addition, an increasingly number of innovators in computer technology have become cultural icons from Steve Jobs to Elon Musk. Therefore, because Silicon Valley has had such a dramatic influence on contemporary life in advanced economies, interrogating the relationship between innovation, markets and culture with an economic sociology frame may provide insight into how innovation and mass culture relate to one another. I suggest that the use of Polanyi’s (1944) market society as a theoretical frame may aid in understanding more of the market pull that Thornton’s (1999) research elucidates.
Schumpeter and the Beginning of the Sociology of Innovation
Schumpeter was highly influential to the body of sociological work that examined innovation. As he argued, innovation was the foundation of the larger processes of “creative destruction”--the ability to constantly create anew from what already exists within a capitalist economic system. As Schumpeter explains, “ A process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one” (1994 , pp. 82-83). Creative destruction explained the propulsion of a capitalist economy to be self-sufficient and moving ever forward towards the notion of economic progress. It’s important to note that while creative destruction aids in understanding capitalist market sustainability, it further entangles how economies grow. In attempting to unfold how this process relies upon innovation, Schumpeter’s (1934) work on recombinatorial innovation not only aided in such an understanding, but also paved the way for how economic sociologists considered the processes that lead to innovation. He argued that “new combinations of productive means” (p. 66) allowed for one technology to proliferate into many different kinds of product possibilities as innovators worked through creating different kinds of outcomes. As a result, innovation occurs through the process of finding new ways to combine different kinds of technologies, which creates “clusters” of innovative growth. He wrote:
. . . as soon as the various kinds of social resistance to something that is fundamentally new and untried have been overcome, it is much easier not only to do the same thing again but also to do similar things in different directions, so that a first success will always produce a cluster. (p 142)
This can be witnessed in the initial growth and consequent rapid diffusion of innovation in Silicon Valley. Today, thousands of startup companies work to create new kinds of technologies from mobile phone applications to wearable technologies, deriving their work from new combinations of existing innovations. The use of “API mashups”--interface platforms that utilize data flows from multiple companies--is a powerful tool for Silicon Valley startups on the rise to growing into large corporations. The continuity of combining data systems lends to the products that are brought to market out of Silicon Valley. However, as this paper will uncover, recombinatorial innovation was one step towards a sociological understanding of innovation, but not a holistic frame that aided in explaining other observable phenomena surrounding innovation. Nonetheless, Schumpeter’s work, ripely positioned during a time of great industrial growth, provoked questions of how innovation occured.
Economic Sociologists Begin Theorizing Innovation
While Schumpeter was an economist, economic sociologists were inspired to consider innovation in a new context, especially when innovation was blossoming in the industrial economy of the new world. Gilfillan’s The Sociology of Invention (1934) was the first sociological work to explore how innovation is a social artifact that lends to an understanding of cultural evolution. Through his study of ships and shipbuilding, Gilfillan was able to determine that social and cultural factors play an important role in effecting a number of inventions. He drew conclusions from his research on shipbuilding that innovations happen at a timely point in social history when certain kinds of value is placed on particular activities. In the case of shipbuilding, society was looking for furthering the sophistication of travel. However, although Gilfillan was inspired by Schumpeter’s concept of recombinatorial innovation, he parted with this notion by arguing that innovation was more similar to an evolutionary process rather than a recombinatorial one: “An invention is an evolution, rather than series of creation, and much resembles a biological process, because it has a basic kinship with this, through innate human mentality” (p. 5). Gilfillan furthered the notion that the naming of inventions through the standardization of actions in industry created a perception of fractured and unique innovations, which he saw as instead being more evolutionarily holistic in nature. In this sense, his perception of innovation processes had no beginning, middle and end, but rather was a continuous stream of advance intelligence that continues to grow.
This lens on the sociological nature of innovation provoked an interesting exchange among sociologists, and even engaged Schumpeter’s later work as well. Ogburn, another early 20th century sociologist interested in innovation, and a colleague of Gilfillan, began conceptualizing innovation as a response to the work put forth on “social darwinism”--a very popular application of Darwin’s natural selection to social hierarchies that gained scientific momentum in the late 19th century, and ended in popularity slowly throughout the 20th century as more studies disproved its central claims. Unfortunately, Ogburn was one sociologist that was influenced by social darwinism to the extent that it showed in his work on innovation. In any case, Ogburn, unlike Gilfillan, was more interested in a holistic interpretation of how innovation occurs in society. He didn’t believe that the evolutionary process and progress of knowledge was the only factor leading to innovation phenomena. Like Schumpeter, he saw innovation as a phenomenon created by a combination of existing knowledge and that the acceleration of innovation was due to the accumulation of such knowledge. However, where he differed from Schumpeter, and what made his thought sociological, was that he primarily focused on the combinations of knowledge put forth by social and cultural environments, instead of the more narrower view of recombinations of innovations driven from a product-centric standpoint. In other words, Ogburn was able to broaden the work of Schumpeter by expressing social and cultural factors (for him, institutional learning and creative ability) that he saw as lending to innovative processes. However, Ogburn’s work was quite narrow in the sense that he was still residually impacted by the work of social darwinists in that he believed a creative leader with natural abilities to innovate were those who propel technological innovations. Ogburn, however, sided with Gilfillan in that he perceived the accumulation of knowledge over time as lending to technological progress:
“There is no relation between the life of material objects and lifetime of human beings. Social inheritance differs from biological inheritance. We come into these two inheritances by quite different methods” (1922, p. 74).
Therefore, while Ogburn saw the significance of a leader in driving innovation, his views on the accumulation of knowledge were less tainted by any form of biological determinism. Perhaps Ogburn did not have a frame for conceptualizing the creative leader, and did not see Weber’s work on charismatic leadership useful in his analysis. In any case, while Ogburn was respected as a prolific writer with political influence, his work on innovation was considered too technologically deterministic.
From the Thought of Innovation to Innovation Diffusion
Ogburn, if his social darwinist theorizing can be forgiven, is an important contributor to the emerging question of how innovation becomes adopted in society. Through his analysis of internal and external diffusion, scholars became interested in how some innovations become adopted, and why many do not. What drives consumer decision-making? How do some patents get brought to market over others? Why do some states adopt certain technologies over others? It is important to note that this was the first time that economic sociologists began to ask broader questions about how culture, society, industry and innovation intersect, seeing this relationship as explainable through sociological inquiry. Ryan and Gross’s 1943 work looked further into innovator diffusion, drawing especially from the 19th century French sociologist, Gabriel Tarde, but also addressing the work of both Ogburn and Gilfillan. Tarde predominantly focused on crime, but also theorized on concepts such as imitation, which sociologized how people take on the traits of others as a form of gaining prestige (2011).
As such, Ryan and Gross’s (1943) study of hybrid corn adoption lended a new explanation of how innovation diffusion occurs. They conceived of five major stages to the adoption process from the perspective of an adopter: awareness, interest, evaluation, trial and adoption. Unlike Ogburn and Gilfillan, Ryan and Gross’s analysis indicated that adoption of innovation also occurred based on location (rural versus urban), and that social power to affect change also impacted willingness to adopt technology--a conceptualization influenced by Tarde. Through extrapolating the five phases of adoption, Ryan and Gross complicated the innovation adoption process by introducing the significance of mass communication and interpersonal networks in shaping attitudes towards adoption. In addition, the researchers argued that the passage of time plays a critical role in innovation adoption. Not only was Ryan and Gross’s work seminal in understanding the social processes of innovation that Gilfillan was particularly puzzled by, but it also laid the foundation for further investigation by sociologists. The next few section unfolds how sociologists begun theorizing social processes in innovation.
Social Processes and Innovation
With Ryan and Gross’s work creating opportunity for sociologists to consider social processes in innovation, scholars began to theorize innovation from organizations to social structure. Utterback and Abernathy (1975; 1977), two business and management scholars, aided in further conceptualizing firm processes in the promotion and creation of innovation, however their approach still considered a product-centric standpoint put forth by Schumpeter. For example, Utterback and Abernathy have been widely cited for their contributions to understanding product dominance in the marketplace, a term they’ve given “dominant design.” Dominant design suggests that there is usually one kind of design that sets the tone for an industry and new industry entrants. Those whose work has been influenced by dominant design primarily focus on innovation within the scholastic work of invention processes, void of a sociological analysis. However, Utterback and Abernathy’s work has also been a welcomed contribution to the field of sociology, as it was not until their work on the industry life-cycle that firm activity was considered an important driver in promoting innovation and market growth.
Organizational theories surrounding innovation aid in understanding how social processes within firms lend to innovation. However, the processes outlined by Utterback and Abernathy suggest that a more holistic and broader perspective cannot be limited to the scope of inter-organizational processes, but also to innovation diffusion and adoption. In any case, Utterback and Abernathy’s research lead to a model for understanding innovation processes as they relate to a firm’s lifecycle. In the beginning of firm creation--”startup”, as they are also called--innovators are more radical in their approach to design. They take more risk, and are more interested in finding an entry into the market by being different. However, firms are limited in their scope of innovating, as other industry actors are shaping consumer preferences and desirability. As such, the firm reacts with trying to find their distinction and competitive advantage among current actors, and potential future entrants. During this phase, innovation is much more crude and haphazard--maximizing the limited resources the firm has in order to maximize their chances of entry and further survival. Utterback and Abernathy considered this as the “fluid” phase of the firm. As firm entry advances, they enter the phase of “transition”, which is characterized by some light innovation. The “mature” phase of the firm moves more to bureaucratic firm processes, and radical innovation seems to occur less often.
While Utterback and Abernathy’s model aids in understanding how the life-cycle of the firm implicates innovation, it lacks a sociological understanding of how these processes truly catch fire. As such, Rao’s Market Rebels (2009) dismisses the innovation model put forth by scholars, such as Utterback and Abernathy, and offers an alternative lens for exploring technological change. Rao argues that innovation does not necessarily occur by the very people Americans valorize--such as Steve Jobs or Henry Ford--but rather through what he calls the “evangelists” that believe in the innovation, and have formed social movements surrounding them. Rao illustrates this by examining the Homebrew Computer Club in 1975 that was the Wozniak-Jobs link to getting innovation into the marketplace, creating not only Apple Inc., but also nearly two dozen other computer companies. Other examples of Rao’s argument can be witnessed in the fitness industry. The critically acclaimed documentary, Yoga Inc., describes how yoga became a fitness and wellness phenomena in the United States, imported from the Hindu tradition of India. Although yoga has been practiced in the United States since the early 20th century, it was not until the counter-culture youth of the 1960s heralded yoga as a path for spiritual enlightenment. Today, an industry revolves around yoga from apparel, accessories, entertainment, fitness centers, and the like. Rao argues that economic change is found within the social movements that collect behind what is considered an invention, and not necessarily by organizational processes in and of themselves. However, Rao is dismissive of social networks in furthering a sociological understanding of innovation processes, as well as power dynamics and institutional settings and access. Ryan and Gross suggested that personal networks made a difference in innovation adoption. While network scholars of the mid-to-late 20th century were interested in how personal networks influenced innovation adoption, the rise of social network analysis created opportunity for exploring strong weak network ties in innovation creation and process dynamics. As such, new ways for complicating the sociology of innovation entailed.
Burt’s (1991) analysis of social networks was a large contribution to the sociological understanding of innovation and competition. In his words, “Social structure renders competition imperfect by creating entrepreneurial opportunities for certain players and not for others” (p. 57). As such, the advantage of social networks plays an important role in whose innovation is considered over others. This advantages comes from what Burt coins as “structural holes”. He writes:
It will be convenient to have a term for the separation between nonredundant contacts. I use the term "structural hole." Nonredundant contacts are connected by a structural hole. A structural hole is a relationship of nonredundancy between two contacts. The hole is a buffer, like an insulator in an electric circuit. As a result of the hole between them, the two contacts provide network benefits that are in some degree additive rather than overlapping (p. 65).
Burt was the first to place the innovator and his or her’s social network at the center of analysis, rather than products and organizational processes. However, his 1991 analysis did not explicitly link structural holes to innovators, but rather to entrepreneurs. It was not until his 2004 work that he considered structural holes explicitly in relation to innovation. He argued that one’s ability to conjure new and innovative ideas was based upon their relation and proximity to structural holes (2004, p. 350).
However, Burt did not consider the brokerage of network ties in the process of innovation. Network brokers often play a critical role in introducing people together that are considered compatible as mutual resources. Obstfeld’s (2005) research on what he calls “iungens” or social network brokers, provide such a role in social networking. Iungens is a term adopted from Simmel’s (1908) work, which argues that the third network tie in a social group, the “tertius gaudens”, serves as a broker to introduce others to one another. This third person is able to structurally benefit from connecting the pair by being the responsible person connecting the two together. However, gaudens differ from iungens in that gaudens are able to connect a pair and have more interaction with them, whereas iungens connect pairs, but also bring together different resources from differing social networks. As such, the iungens are able to bridge together beyond just pair brokerage, but rather large pools of resources. Obstfeld’s analysis aids in understanding the social network processes of innovation by further complicating Burt’s conceptualization of structural holes. However, more research into the structural benefits of iugens is less clear.
Ferrary and Granovetter’s (2009) work on venture capitalists (VCs) and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley may aid in further understanding the structural benefits of of iugens if explored through a different and perhaps more complex social network analysis. In Ferrary and Granovetter’s research findings on Silicon Valley networking, they found that VCs play a critical role in how innovation occurs. Their approach is more concerned with the process that brings innovation to market through the signaling of other business members of the community. This kind of analysis aids in understanding the financial processes of today’s innovation clusters, which play a critical role in aiding in the production and diffusion of innovation in advanced capitalist markets where market dominance is one of the primary forces lending to company success. Ferrary and Granovetter explain the process of signaling VCs:
Beyond the funding of start-ups, the VC firms select the most promising projects of the region, signal the best start-ups to the business community, accumulate and spread entrepreneurial knowledge in the cluster and embed the interdependent agents of the network. VC firms depend on other agents of the complex network of innovation and vice versa (p. 354).
Ferrary and Granovetter illuminate the significance of social network analysis in understanding how innovation is able to be brought not only to fruition, but to market. Investors and investor networks serve many roles for entrepreneurial innovators seeking to bring their inventions to market. One such role that is important to consider is the ability to navigate resources. While Obstfeld’s research suggests that a network tie--the iugen--has the ability to pull different kinds of resources together through their ability to centralize connections, Ferrary and Granovetter argue that resources in Silicon Valley are part of a larger “system interdependence” (354). As such, one missing or introduced actor can change the landscape of a given invention process.
Ferrary and Granovetter, however, ignore the notion of “status” in their analysis of firms, which may be central to understanding why VC firms, and other such prominent actors to innovation, aid in the outcomes of innovation processes and outcomes. Other research similarly supports the importance of status in the ability of an innovation to lead to success. Podolny and Stuart’s (1995) research findings suggest that during the technological invention process there is much uncertainty. However, the status of those who sponsor the innovation play an important role in whether the invention is success or not:
Under conditions of technological uncertainty, the status of the actors that sponsor the innovations in a technological niche serves as a tangible guide for the probability that the focal innovation in that niche will become important. An innovator's technological status is defined as the perceived quality or importance of that actor's previous contributions to the advancement of technological knowledge (p. 1224).
Podolny and Stuart’s findings illuminate the importance of status actors in the process and outcomes of the tech-innovation process. While Ferrary and Granovetter do not suggest this explicitly, their findings also suggest the same. VCs carry an important role--especially in technology innovation--as they carry the ability to fund and signal funding and further business development support to entrepreneurial tech-innovators. Further support for status intervention and facilitation in tech-innovation is indicated in the literature. Podolny, Stuart and Hannan’s (1996) research findings suggest that the likelihood for success among market entrants rests upon whether crowding is lessened, while also that the status of a firm enhances their potential to succeed. Status is an important finding not only to the literature on social networking and innovation, but also to the institutional forces and innovation. The next section illuminates the institutional forces that influence innovation processes and outcomes.
Institutional forces are important to the sociology of innovation literature because it helps explain how organizations provide or resist opportunities to innovate, and also how larger institutions adopt or decline innovation. Tolbert and Zucker’s (1983) analysis suggests that innovations became more widespread throughout society through the processes of both network structures and institutional forces. By analyzing data of organizational adoption rates, Tolbert and Zucker found that organizations are more likely to adopt new innovations based on both internal and external factors:
As an increasing number of organizations adopt a program or policy, it becomes progressively institutionalized, or widely understood to be a necessary component of rationalized organizational structure. The legitimacy of the procedures themselves serves as the impetus for the later adopters (p. 35).
While Tolbert and Zucker’s analysis aided in understanding how institutional adoption of innovations occur, Thornton’s (1999) analysis of entrepreneurship literature aids in understanding how organizational environments provide the opportunity for different kinds of entrepreneurship to formulate, and also what kinds of people within an organization have more institutional backing to innovate. She argues that approaching entrepreneurship from a strictly social network analysis standpoint fails to determine all innovation outcomes--both failed and successful. In any case, Thornton’s argument is observable today in many different kinds of institutions. An analysis of the entrepreneurship and technological innovation opportunity within institutions of higher education may suggest that higher institutional infrastructure matched with a culture of entrepreneurial networking provides greater opportunity for innovation to actualize.
Largely missing from these analyses of social structure on innovation is the contribution of social structures’ impact on innovation processes. Ben-David and Sullivan (1975) were some of the first to argue that social structure impacts invention, and the creation of new ideas. As opposed to Thornton and Tolbert and Zucker, Ben-David and Sullivan interrogated innovation within the institution of science, and the dimensions to how to promotes innovation processes. While they consider science as a cultural institution, they argue that its heavy regulation and cultural standards promotes the legitimacy of new innovations. This kind of regulation and legitimacy differs from other fields, such as art or literature, because it carries with it the dominant cultural frame of what Giannella (2015) argues in his work on morality and the scientific notion of “progress”. According to Giannella, who borrows from Weber, science and industries formed from scientific advancement, carry a privilege of cultural privilege in that they are seen as the objective field promoting progress through innovation. As such, Ben-David and Sullivan argue that through this cultural legitimizer, science carries the institutional privilege of being able to innovate as not only a larger structural privilege, but also through internal processes that promotes what Giannella would consider the moral obligation to advance humanity.
However, legitimacy and cultural privilege are not the only driving forces in promoting and accepting innovation. DiMaggio and Powell’s (1983) work on coercion and organizational environments suggests that organizations are becoming more bureaucratic, but unlike Weber suggested, are moving towards decreasing efficiency. As a result of many firms competing for greater market share, pressure to innovate arises. According to DiMaggio and Powell, this pressure results in more firms innovating not as a response to improve performance or for the embetterment of humanity (Giannella, 2015), but rather to maintain the continued legitimacy and power of their firm’s relevance and reach. As Meyer and Rowan (1977) stated, “As an innovation spreads, a threshold is reached beyond which adoption provides legitimacy rather than improves performance.”
Examples of DiMaggio and Powell’s argument can be observed in the criticisms of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs within the past several years. As an increasing number of mobile applications flood the market, the pressure to innovate--create something novel--becomes of increasing significance. Another industry--high fashion--can be an example of how companies constantly innovate as a continued pressure to remain relevant. Innovation, as often concerned with the ability to create something technical, indeed encompasses cultural kinds of innovation.
The sociology of innovation literature began with the Austrian economist, Schumpeter, and his notions of “recombinatorial innovation” and “creative destruction”. These two notions spurred sociologists to consider the multi-dimensional ways that innovation occurs, from seed to diffusion. In this paper, I have indicated that sociologists have aided in our understanding of how social processes, diffusion, network structures, and institutional forces relate to innovation. As a result, themes have emerged that hold significance in understanding innovation phenomena. One is that innovation processes occur ecologically from social networks to consumer adoption. Another is that status, legitimation, and cultural privilege also play a role in innovation processes. As such, sociology has provided a rich understanding of innovation. However, future directions in research ought to be considered.
Within the literature thus far, there is a steep saturation of research findings on the significance of complex social networks in determining many processes of innovation. These studies have immensely contributed to a sociological understanding of how innovation, markets and networks are closely related (White, 1981). In addition, sociological studies, such as Ryan and Gross (1943), that examine how innovation diffusion occur also lend a significant contribution to understanding how innovation becomes adopted by consumers, whether for business-to-business purposes or for leisure use. However, less is known about the cultural and historical climate and its relevance to the adoption of new innovations. For instance, much of the recent literature on innovation is interested in the processes and adoption of tech-innovation, and illuminates the importance of social networks and status actors, but fail to provide a broader sociological understanding of why consumers adopt such technologies and continue to look to the same innovating industries for new products. What kinds of cultural and social explanations can be provided from the consumer’s perspective that aids in understanding how innovation adoption occur?
As a result, new directions for theorizing innovation ought to consider the role of the public for spurring innovation. If a methodical explanation cannot be provided, then we are left to think that the phenomena is unexplainable, or too random. I suggest that the convergence of Polanyi’s (1944) market society to the sociology of innovation ought to be considered in order to understand more of the market pull that Thornton’s (1999) research elucidates.
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