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Organization, Evolution, Cognition and Dynamic Capabilities

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  • Bart Nooteboom

Abstract

Using insights from ‘embodied cognition’ and a resulting ‘cognitive theory of the firm’, The paper aims to contribute to the further development of evolutionary theory of organizations, in the specification of organizations as ‘interactors’ that carry organizational competencies as ‘replicators’, within industries as ‘populations’. The paper, in particular, analyzes how, if at all, ‘dynamic capabilities’ can be fitted into evolutionary theory, and proposes that the prime purpose of an organization is to serve as a cognitive ‘focusing device’. Here, cognition has a wide meaning, including perception, interpretation, sense making, and value judgments. The paper examines how cognition integrates organizations on the one hand, and creates differences within and between industries on the other, and proposes the following sources of ‘variation’ replication in communication, novel combinations of existing knowledge, and a path of discovery by which exploitation leads to exploration. These sources yield a proposal for dynamic capabilities. The paper also discusses in what sense, and to what extent these sources of variation are ‘blind’, as postulated in evolutionary theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by IUP Publications in its journal The IUP Journal of Managerial Economics.

Volume (Year): V (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 31-55

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Handle: RePEc:icf:icfjme:v:05:y:2007:i:4:p:31-55

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  1. Nooteboom, B. & Vanheverbeke, W.P.M. & Duysters, G.M. & Gilsing, V.A. & Oord van den, A,J,, 2005. "Optimal cognitive distance and absorptive capacity," Working Papers, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies 05.05, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
  2. Wuyts, Stefan & Colombo, Massimo G. & Dutta, Shantanu & Nooteboom, Bart, 2005. "Empirical tests of optimal cognitive distance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 277-302, October.
  3. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2006. "Why we need a generalized Darwinism, and why generalized Darwinism is not enough," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-19, September.
  4. Ulrich Witt, 2004. "On the proper interpretation of 'evolution' in economics and its implications for production theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 125-146.
  5. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
  6. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  7. Geoffrey Hodgson, 2002. "The Legal Nature of the Firm and the Myth of the Firm-Market Hybrid," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 37-60.
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Cited by:
  1. Slowak, André P., 2009. "Market fields structure & dynamics in industrial automation," FZID Discussion Papers 02-2009, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  2. Alessandra Colombelli & Jackie Krafft & Francesco Quatraro, 2012. "The emergence of new technology-based sectors at the regional level: a proximity-based analysis of nanotechnology," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG), Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography 1211, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jun 2012.
  3. Huang, Tsu-Te (Andrew) & Chen, Le & Stewart, Rodney A. & Panuwatwanich, Kriengsak, 2013. "Leveraging power of learning capability upon manufacturing operations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 233-252.

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