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Organization, Evolution, Cognition and Dynamic Capabilities

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  • Nooteboom, B.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

Using insights from ‘embodied cognition’ and a resulting ‘cognitive theory of the firm’, I aim 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’. Especially, I analyze how, if at all, ‘dynamic capabilities’ can be fitted into evolutionary theory. I propose 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 judgements. I analyse how this yields organizations as cohesive wholes, and differences within and between industries. I propose 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 yield a proposal for dynamic capabilities. I discuss in what sense, and to what extent these sources of variation are ‘blind’, as postulated in evolutionary theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2007-2.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:20072

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

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Keywords: evolutionary economics; organization; cognition; dynamic capabilities;

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References

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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," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 05.05, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
  2. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
  3. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  4. Wuyts, Stefan & Colombo, Massimo G. & Dutta, Shantanu & Nooteboom, Bart, 2005. "Empirical tests of optimal cognitive distance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 277-302, October.
  5. 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, vol. 9(1), pages 37-60.
  6. 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, vol. 61(1), pages 1-19, September.
  7. Ulrich Witt, 2004. "On the proper interpretation of 'evolution' in economics and its implications for production theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 125-146.
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Cited by:
  1. 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) 1211, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jun 2012.
  2. 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, vol. 145(1), pages 233-252.
  3. 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).

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