IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Adaptation on Rugged Landscapes

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel A. Levinthal

    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6370)

Registered author(s):

    A simple model is developed to explore the interrelationship between processes of organizational level change and population selection forces. A critical property of the model is that the effect on organizational fitness of the various attributes that constitute an organization's form is interactive. As a result of these interaction effects, the fitness landscape is "rugged." An organization's form at founding has a persistent effect on its future form when there are multiple peaks in the fitness landscape, since the particular peak that an organization discovers is influenced by its starting position in the space of alternative organizational forms. Selection pressures influence the distribution of the organizational forms that emerge from the process of local adaptation. The ability of established organizations to respond to changing environments is importantly conditioned by the extent to which elements of organizational form interact in their effect on organizational fitness. Tightly coupled organizations are subject to high rates of failure in changing environments. Furthermore, successful "reorientations" are strongly associated with survival for tightly coupled organizations, but not for more loosely coupled organizations that are able to engage in effective local adaptation.

    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: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 43 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 934-950

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:7:p:934-950
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA

    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

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

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

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:7:p:934-950. 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: (Mirko Janc)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.