Organizational Ecology

Darwinian and Non-Darwinian Dynamics

Authored by: Jonathan H. Turner

Handbook on Evolution and Society

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781612058146
eBook ISBN: 9781315634203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317258339


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This chapter reviews the basic model of organizational ecology as it has developed over the last thirty years in sociology and other social science disciplines. The adoption of ideas from bioecology for understanding the processes of organizational foundings, niche density competition, selection, and organizational mortality among populations of organizations altered the analysis of organizations and demonstrated the utility of bringing biology into sociology and the other social sciences. There are, however, limitations to this borrowing of ideas because sociocultural phenomena display properties and dynamics that are much different from those conceptualized within the Darwinian framework. The limitations to use of biological ideas are summarized and used to suggest a reorientation of organizational ecology that draws from both bioecology and mainstream macro sociology.

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