Competitive Advantage, Network Advantage, and Vienna
| Peter Klein |
At last week’s ACAC Joel Baum gave a very interesting presentation (ppt) on the institutional and intellectual histories of two important strands in management thought, the literature on competitive advantage and the literature on network advantage. These two strands developed largely in isolation but, as it turns out, can both trace important parts of their development to the University of Vienna and the Austrian school of economics. Check out the genealogies below, captured from Joel’s slides. First, two diagrams on the origins of the competitive advantage approach (click to enlarge):
Now, two on the origins of network advantage theory:
Of course, one could argue that tracing twentieth-century intellectual movements through places like Vienna and Harvard proves nothing, except that Vienna and Harvard were extremely important places. But I think there is more at work here. Mises and Weber were good friends, for example, and as Rafe Champion has pointed out, there are important links between Mises and Parsons that have not been widely appreciated.
Does anyone else feel like breaking out into Kum-ba-yah?