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Organizing Diversity: Evolutionary Theory, Network Analysis and Postsocialism


  • Gernot Grabher
  • David Stark


GRABHER G. and STARK D. (1997) Organizing diversity: evolutionary theory, network analysis and postsocialism, Reg. Studies 31, 533-544. In contrast to the dominant transition framework that examines organizational forms in Eastern Europe according to the degree to which they conform to, or depart from the blueprints of already existing capitalisms, this paper examines the innovative character, born of necessity, in which actors in the postsocialist setting are restructuring by redefining and recombining resources. Instead of conceiving these recombinations as accidental aberrations, it explores their evolutionary potentials. Its starting premise is that the actual unit of entrepreneurship is not the isolated individual personality but the social networks that link firms and the actors within them. Drawing on recent developments in evolutionary theory, it cautions that although allencompassing privatization and marketization might foster adaptation in the short run, the consequent loss of organizational diversity will impede adaptability in the long run. GRABHER G. et STARK D. (1997) L'organisation de la diversite: la theorie evolutionniste, l'analyse de reseau et le post-socialisme, Reg. Studies 31, 533-544. Par rapport au cadre de transition dominante qui examine des formes d'organisation en Europe de l'Est en fonction de la mesure ou elles s'adaptent ou s'ecartent des schemas directeurs des capitalismes actuels, cet article examine le caractere innovateur, nepar la force des choses, dans lequel les acteurs a l'epoque post-socialiste restructurent en definissant et en combinant de facon differente les ressources. Au lieu de concevoir ces nouvelles combinaisons en tant qu'aberrations fortuites, il examine leur potentiel evolutionniste. Le point de depart c'est le fait que l'unitede l'esprit d'entreprise n'est pas l'individu mais plutot les reseaux sociaux qui relient les entreprises et les acteurs en dedans. Puisant dans des developpements recents dans le domaine de la theorie evolutionniste, il previent qu'il en resultera une perte de diversite d'organisation qui empechera a terme l'adaptation, bien que les politiques globales de la privatisation et du developpement des economies de marche pourraient encourager l'adaptation a court terme. GRABHER G. und STARK D. (1997) Die Organisation von Diversita¨t: Evolutionstheorie, Netzwerkanalyse und Postsozialismus, Reg. Studies 31, 533-544. Die dominierende Transformationsliteratur beschra¨nkt sich vor allem darauf, die osteuropa¨ischen Organisationsformen nach dem Grad ihrer U¨bereinstimmung mit den vertrauten Blaupausen etablierter Kapitalismusvarianten zu bewerten. Im Gegensatz dazu untersucht dieser Beitrag den innovativen Charakter dieser - aus Not geborenen - postsozialistischen Organisationsformen, die von Akteuren durch die Redefinition und Rekombination von Ressourcen restrukturiert werden. Anstatt diese Rekombinationen als zufa¨llige Abweichungen zu betrachten, erkundet dieser Artikel ihre evolutiona¨ren Potentiale. Er geht davon aus, dass Entrepreneurship nicht auf der Ebene isolierter Einzelperso¨nlichkeiten zu konzeptualisieren ist, sondern auf der Ebene der sozialen Netzwerke, die Unternehmen und Akteure miteinander verbinden. Aufbauend auf neueren Entwicklungen in der Evolutionstheorie verweist dieser Artikel darauf, dass eine umfassende Privatisierung und Durchsetzung von Marktprinzipien zwar kurzfristig die Anpassung erho¨hen mag, allerdings der damit einhergehende Verlust an organisatorischer Diversita¨t langfristig die Anpassungsfa¨higkeit beeintra¨chtigt.

Suggested Citation

  • Gernot Grabher & David Stark, 1997. "Organizing Diversity: Evolutionary Theory, Network Analysis and Postsocialism," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 533-544.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:31:y:1997:i:5:p:533-544
    DOI: 10.1080/00343409750132315

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    2. Ron Boschma, 2015. "Towards an Evolutionary Perspective on Regional Resilience," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 733-751, May.
    3. Ely, Adrian & Van Zwanenberg, Patrick & Stirling, Andrew, 2014. "Broadening out and opening up technology assessment: Approaches to enhance international development, co-ordination and democratisation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 505-518.
    4. Udo Staber, 2001. "Spatial Proximity and Firm Survival in a Declining Industrial District: The Case of Knitwear Firms in Baden-Wu¨rttemberg," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 329-341.
    5. Tisdell, Clem & Seidl, Irmi, 2004. "Niches and economic competition: implications for economic efficiency, growth and diversity," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 119-135, June.
    6. Jürgen Essletzbichler, 2005. "Diversity, stability and regional growth in the U.S. (1975-2002)," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0513, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Sep 2005.
    7. Krug, B. & Hendrischke, H., 2006. "Framing China: Transformation and Institutional Change," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2006-025-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    8. Michael Fritsch, 2001. "Co-operation in Regional Innovation Systems," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 297-307.
    9. Krug, B., 2006. "Enterprise Ground Zero in China," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2006-024-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    10. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2015. "Towards a Developmental Turn in Evolutionary Economic Geography?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 712-732, May.
    11. Wintjes, Rene & Cobbenhagen, Jan, 2000. "Knowledge intensive Industrial Clustering around Océ; Embedding a vertical disintegrating," Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    12. Norma Rantisi, 2002. "The Local Innovation System as a Source of 'Variety': Openness and Adaptability in New York City's Garment District," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 587-602.
    13. Elvira Uyarra, 2011. "Regional innovation systems revisited: networks, institutions, policy and complexity," Openloc Working Papers 1113, Public policies and local development.
    14. Max-Peter Menzel, 2008. "Dynamic Proximities – Changing Relations by Creating and Bridging Distances," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0816, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Oct 2008.
    15. Clark, Ed & Geppert, Mike, 2006. "Socio-political processes in international management in post-socialist contexts: Knowledge, learning and transnational institution building," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 340-357, September.
    16. Ulrich Mückenberger, 2008. "Civilising Globalism: Transnational Norm-Building Networks—A Research Programme," GIGA Working Paper Series 90, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    17. Chang Woon Nam & Alina Schoenberg & Georg Wamser, 2011. "Lisbon Agenda, Regional Innovation System and the New EU Cohesion Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3564, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Heike Schroeder, 2011. "Application possibilities of the micro-meso-macro framework in economic geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1115, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2011.


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