Evolutionary Theory

David N. Barron

in The Oxford Handbook of Strategy

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199275212
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Evolutionary Theory

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This article discusses several evolutionary approaches that have been particularly influential in the study of organizational and industrial change. The first, developed by two economists, Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter, envisages organizations as being characterized by the routines that they develop for performing their core functions. These routines are selected for by competition. The other two approaches are variations on theories that are often called ecological because they stress the relationship between organizations and resources in their environments. The most well-known of these was first developed by two sociologists, Michael Hannan and John Freeman, while the other was developed by another sociologist, Miller McPherson. They both take organizations as the basic unit of analysis.

Keywords: organizational change; industrial change; core functions; competition; evolutionary theory; organization resources

Article.  9604 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Strategy

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