HONEYMOONS AND THE LIABILITY OF ADOLESCENCE: A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON DURATION DEPENDENCE IN SOCIAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS.

  • Fichman M
  • Levinthal D
  • 173

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Abstract

Many social relationships face a liability of adolescence; the hazard rate of the relationship ending increases for an initial period and then declines. The pervasiveness of this phenomenon suggests that there may be a common set of underlying factors. We believe that many relationships start with an initial stock of assets, which can take a variety of forms (depending on the context), including favorable prior beliefs, trust, goodwill, financial resources, or psychological commitment. We hypothesize that these assets reduce the risk of the relationship dissolving when the initial outcomes of the relationship are unfavorable, resulting in a honeymoon period. The duration of this honeymoon period is a function of the magnitude of these assets. We survey earlier results and report new analyses. For organizational theory, this model of duration dependence raises problems for Stinchcombe's (1965) liability of newness hypothesis, which is central to much theorizing on the population ecology of organizations. We believe researchers have overlooked such a pattern because of their overreliance on parametric representations, which assume monotonic changes in the hazard rate with respect to time.

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Authors

  • M. Fichman

  • D. A. Levinthal

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