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Organization, Evolution, Cognition and Dynamic Capabilities

  • Bart Nooteboom

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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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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