Mobility Networks and Institutional Change: How Parisian Haute Couture Moved into Ready-to-Wear, 1945-1973

Interorganizational personnel mobility networks have been shown to impact various firm outcomes, from creativity to survival. So far, however, their effect on large-scale phenomena such as institutional change has not been explored. Making a distinction between outward ties when employees go from the focal organization to other organizations, and inward ties when they come from the outside to the focal organization, we argue that such change is first driven by networks with an outward orientation, but then supported by inward connections. We conducted a key personnel mobility network analysis of the diffusion of ready-to-wear in French fashion between 1945 and 1973. This change, originating in the United States, displaced traditional custom-made haute couture as the most significant activity in French fashion, and was later recast as prêt-à-porter, a quintessentially French phenomenon.

Don’t miss Frédéric’s interview, by our fabulous PhDs

Interview by emlyon Ph.D. student Su-Lyn Cheng and STORM Post-doctoral fellow Thinley Tharchen. Editing by STORM Post-doctoral fellow Thinley Tharchen.