The Emergence of Organizations and Markets

June 2014

The publication of The Emergence of Organizations and Markets (Princeton University Press, 2013), by John Padgett and Walter Powell, is a watershed event for sociology, and the social sciences more generally, including historical studies. In the words of one recent reviewer, it “might be best characterized as monumental, paradigm shifting, sprawling, and obsessed with detail.” The importance of Padgett and Powell’s book, The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, hereafter referred to as EOM, is that it is the first work in sociology and arguably in the social sciences to offer a comprehensive theory of where and how truly new organizational forms emerge. Moreover, it accomplishes this by drawing deeply, both theoretically and empirically, from multiple disciplines. Arguably, the book is a “game changer” not only with respect to how we understand organizations generally, but even more broadly to how we understand social structure and culture. Given the importance of EOM, the workshop leaders propose a workshop with two aims: furthering Padgett and Powell’s theoretical model and broadening the empirical applications of the theory. If EOM is as groundbreaking a book as the workshop leaders argue, then sociology and social science more generally will advance most productively by quickly engaging relevant and interested scholars developing its theory and applications further.