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Phylogenetic Footprints in Organizational Behavior

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  • Ulrich Witt
  • Georg Schwesinger

Abstract

An evolutionary tool kit is applied in this paper to explain how innate social behavior traits evolved in early human groups. These traits were adapted to the particular production requirements of the group in human phylogeny. They shaped the group members' attitudes towards contributing to the group's goals and towards other group members. We argue that these attitudes are still present in modern humans and leave their "phylogenetic footprints" also in present-day organizational life. We discuss the implications of this hypothesis for problems arising in firm organizations in relation to the coordination and motivation of organization members.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2012-17.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2012-17

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Keywords: evolution; pre-adaptations; group selection; firm organization; organizational behavior; leadership;

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References

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  1. Witt, Ulrich, 1998. "Imagination and leadership - The neglected dimension of an evolutionary theory of the firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 161-177, April.
  2. Mueller, Dennis C, 1972. "A Life Cycle Theory of the Firm," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 199-219, July.
  3. Robert E. Quinn & Kim Cameron, 1983. "Organizational Life Cycles and Shifting Criteria of Effectiveness: Some Preliminary Evidence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(1), pages 33-51, January.
  4. Wilson, David Sloan & Gowdy, John M., 2013. "Evolution as a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages S3-S10.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  6. Christian Cordes & Peter J. Richerson & Georg Schwesinger, 2009. "How Corporate Cultures Coevolve with the Business Environment: The Case of Firm Growth Crises and Industry Evolution," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-21, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  7. David E. M. Sappington, 1991. "Incentives in Principal-Agent Relationships," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 45-66, Spring.
  8. Burnham, Terence C., 2013. "Toward a neo-Darwinian synthesis of neoclassical and behavioral economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages S113-S127.
  9. Helen Bernhard & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2006. "Group Affiliation and Altruistic Norm Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 217-221, May.
  10. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052, Octomber.
  11. Witt, Ulrich, 2008. "Observational learning, group selection, and societal evolution," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 1-24, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Kurt Dopfer, 2013. "Economics with a Phylogenetic Signature," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-06, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  2. John Gowdy & Lisi Krall, 2014. "Agriculture as a major evolutionary transition to human ultrasociality," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 179-202, July.

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