The Re-Emergence of an Institutional Field: Swiss Watchmaking

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The Re-Emergence of an Institutional Field: Swiss Watchmaking

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Title: The Re-Emergence of an Institutional Field: Swiss Watchmaking
Author: Raffaelli, Ryan Leo
Citation: Raffaelli, Ryan. "The Re-Emergence of an Institutional Field: Swiss Watchmaking." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-003, July 2015.
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Abstract: In this qualitative study, I examine the factors that influence the re-emergence of market demand for a legacy technology in a mature institutional field. I extend previous work related to field emergence and institutions, offering support for a theoretical model of field re-emergence. In addition, I offer data and analysis to illustrate that re-emergence is a viable empirical phenomenon. Focusing on Swiss watchmaking from 1970 to 2008, I present various institutionalization processes, inflection points, and focal constructs associated with the field’s emergence, decline, and eventual re-emergence. I find that re-emergence requires components that, paradoxically, facilitate both field transformation and field preservation. Although these processes appear to be at odds with one another, during a period of re-emergence they serve as necessary counterweights, encouraging the preservation of some valued elements of the old institutional order alongside new elements that allow for change and survival.
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