In what sense do firms evolve?
Does evolutionary theory help, for a theory of the firm, or, more widely, a theory of organization? In this paper I argue that it does, to some but also limited extent. Evolutionary theories of economies, and of culture, have acquired considerable following, but have also been subject to considerable criticism. Most criticism has been aimed at inappropriate biological analogies, but recently it has been claimed that a 'universal Darwinism', purged of all such mistaken analogy, is both useful and viable. Why should we try to preserve evolutionary theory, and will such theory stand up to sustained critical analysis? How useful is it for theory of the firm? Evolutionary theory appears to be the most adequate theory around for solving the problem of agency and structure, avoiding both an overly rational, managerial 'strategic choice' view of organizations and a 'contingency' view of organizations as fully determined by their environment. Whether universal Darwinism stands up to critical analysis remains to be seen. Here, the focus is on evolutionary theory of organization and of knowledge. Use is made of a constructivist 'embodied cognition' view of cognition and of elements of a cognitive theory of the firm.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2008|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Deutschhausstrasse 10, 35032 Marburg|
Web page: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb19/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Wuyts, Stefan & Colombo, Massimo G. & Dutta, Shantanu & Nooteboom, Bart, 2005.
"Empirical tests of optimal cognitive distance,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 277-302, October.
- Wuyts, S.H.K. & Colombo, M.G. & Dutta, S. & Nooteboom, B., 2004. "Empirical Tests Of Optimal Cognitive Distance," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2004-007-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.
- Wuyts, S.H.K. & Colombo, M. & Dutta, S. & Nooteboom, B., 2005. "Empirical Tests of Optimal Cognitive Distance," Discussion Paper 2005-45, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Ulrich Witt, 2004. "On the proper interpretation of 'evolution' in economics and its implications for production theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 125-146.
- Richard Nelson, 2008. "Economic Development from the Perspective of Evolutionary Economic Theory," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 9-21.
- Richard R. Nelson, 2006. "Economic Development from the Perspective of Evolutionary Economic Theory," The Other Canon Foundation and Tallinn University of Technology Working Papers in Technology Governance and Economic Dynamics 02, TUT Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance.
- Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2006. "Why we need a generalized Darwinism, and why generalized Darwinism is not enough," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-19, September.
- G. Hodgson., 2007. "What Are Institutions?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
- Nooteboom, Bart & Van Haverbeke, Wim & Duysters, Geert & Gilsing, Victor & van den Oord, Ad, 2007. "Optimal cognitive distance and absorptive capacity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1016-1034, September.
- Nooteboom, B. & Vanheverbeke, W.P.M. & Duysters, G.M. & Gilsing, V.A. & Oord van den, A.J., 2005. "Optimal cognitive distance and absorptive capacity," Working Papers 05.05, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
- Nooteboom, B. & Vanhaverbeke, W.P.M. & Duijsters, G.M. & Gilsing, V.A. & Oord, A., 2006. "Optimal Cognitive Distance and Absorptive Capacity," Discussion Paper 2006-33, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- U. Witt, 2003. "The Evolutionary Perspective on Organizational Change and the Theory of the Firm," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2003-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
- Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
- Geoffrey Hodgson, 2002. "The Legal Nature of the Firm and the Myth of the Firm-Market Hybrid," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 37-60. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2008-12. 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: (Christoph Mengs)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.