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Biomimetics in Modern Organizations - Laws or Metaphors?


  • Markus Schatten

    () (Faculty of Organization and Informatics, University of Zagreb)

  • Miroslav Zugaj

    (Faculty of Organization and Informatics, University of Zagreb)


Biomimetics, the art and science of imitating nature and life for technological solutions is discussed from a modern organization theory perspective. The main hypothesis of this article is that there are common laws in nature that are applicable to living, social and likewise organizational systems. To take advantage of these laws, the study of nature's principles for their application to organizations is proposed - a process which is in product and technology design known as bionic creativity engineering. In a search for most interesting concepts borrowed from nature we found amoeba organizations, the theory of autopoiesis or self-creation, neural networks, heterarchies, as well as fractals and bioteaming which are described and reviewed. Additionally other concepts like swarm intelligence, stigmergy, as well as genesis and reproduction, are introduced. In the end all these ideas are summarized and guidelines for further research are given.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Schatten & Miroslav Zugaj, 2011. "Biomimetics in Modern Organizations - Laws or Metaphors?," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage:, vol. 9(1), pages 39-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:9:y:2011:i:1:p:39-55

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alexandre Gohin & Jean-Christophe Bureau, 2006. "Modelling the EU sugar supply to assess sectoral policy reforms," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 223-247, June.
    2. Peter Bogetoft & Kristoffer Boye & Henrik Neergaard-Petersen & Kurt Nielsen, 2007. "Reallocating sugar beet contracts: can sugar production survive in Denmark?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 1-20, March.
    3. Sundkvist, Asa & Jansson, AnnMari & Larsson, Pia, 2001. "Strengths and limitations of localizing food production as a sustainability-building strategy -- an analysis of bread production on the island of Gotland, Sweden," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 217-227, May.
    4. R. M. Bennett & R. H. Phipps & A. M. Strange, 2006. "An Application of Life-Cycle Assessment for Environmental Planning and Management: The Potential Environmental and Human Health Impacts of Growing Genetically-Modified Herbicide-Tolerant Sugar Beet," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 59-74.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schatten Markus, 2013. "Reorganization in Multi-Agent Architectures: An Active Graph Grammar Approach," Business Systems Research, De Gruyter Open, vol. 4(1), pages 14-20, March.

    More about this item


    biomimetics; organization theory; autopoiesis; network science; bionic creativity engineering;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility


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