New article by Laura Dupin, Tao Wang, and Filippo Carlo Wezel in Organization Studies

New occupations are pervasive and constantly alter fields. This paper studies how occupational newcomers and dominant incumbents confront the opportunities and constraints of field-level uncertainty by engaging in interprofessional coalition building. Using resource dependence theory to ground our arguments, we highlight that this type of uncertainty makes third-party ties the channel through which mutual dependence is assessed and power imbalance is regulated. We also claim that when dominant incumbents perceive field-level uncertainty around a new occupation, ties that regulate power imbalance overshadow mutual dependence considerations. Conversely, once occupational boundaries and norms are established through professionalization, the difference across types of third-party ties declines. Empirically, the paper uses the case of silk designers emerging as an independent occupation adjacent to the 18th-century silk guild in Lyon. Using archival data of 676 silk designers (1700–1788), we test the role of third-party ties in affecting the likelihood of a partnership forming between a designer and a merchant.


Laura Dupin, Tao Wang, and Filippo Carlo Wezel. 2022. Designing and Aligning Interprofessional Relations: Third-party ties and partnership formation in the silk industry of 18th-century Lyon. Organization Studies, 43(12), 1891–1914.