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What Is Organizational Imprinting? Cultural Entrepreneurship in the Founding of the Paris Opera

Victoria Johnson
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 113, No. 1 (July 2007), pp. 97-127
DOI: 10.1086/517899
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/517899
Page Count: 31
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What Is Organizational Imprinting? Cultural Entrepreneurship in the Founding of the Paris Opera
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Abstract

Organization theorists have long recognized that organizations take on elements from their environments in the course of being founded. This observation, articulated by Stinchcombe in 1965 and known today as the “organizational imprinting hypothesis,” is frequently cited but remains little understood. Advances in cultural sociology and entrepreneurship studies have provided tools for unpacking this process. The author draws on these tools to underscore the role played by entrepreneurs in selecting and incorporating historically specific elements that may remain for decades or even centuries as fundamental features of the organization in question. The founding of the Paris Opera under Louis XIV serves as the basis for theorizing organizational imprinting at founding as an outcome of cultural entrepreneurship.

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