Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The firm as an interactor: firms as vehicles for habits and routines


Author Info

  • Geoffrey Hodgson


  • Thorbjørn Knudsen


This paper pursues a research agenda inspired by Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter’s Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (1982). This seminal work applied the Darwinian concepts of variation, replication and selection to the evolution of firms. It proposed a level of evolution, replication and selection at a level higher than individuals or genes, involving the replication and selection of routines and institutions. Significantly, the applicability or otherwise of these Darwinian concepts depends on precise definitions of terms such as replication and selection. The present essay builds on previous work where the concepts of replication (Godfrey-Smith, 2000; Aunger, 2002; Hodgson, 2003b) and selection (Price, 1995; Frank, 1998; Knudsen, 2002b, 2003) have been refined. We deploy the key concepts of ‘replicator’ and ‘interactor’ from the modern philosophy of biology (Hull, 1981, 1988). It is shown that while habits and routines can be regarded as replicators, there is a case for regarding firms and similarly cohesive organizations as interactors. We explore some of the implications of this result and provide an important component in the construction of a multiple-level evolutionary theory, involving replicating units at several socio-economic levels. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 281-307

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:14:y:2004:i:3:p:281-307

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Order Information:

Related research

Keywords: Firms; Evolutionary economics; Knowledge; Habits; Routines; Replicator; Interactor;


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:14:y:2004:i:3:p:281-307. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.