Co-Evolutionary Dynamics within and between Firms: From Evolution to Co-Evolution

26 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2003

See all articles by H. W. Volberda

H. W. Volberda

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Arie Y. Lewin

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Abstract

The extensive selection-adaptation literature spans diverse theoretical perspectives, but is inconclusive on the role of managerial intentionality in organizational adaptation. Indeed, this voluminous literature has more to say about selection and sources and causes of structural inertia than about self-renewing organizations that might counteract such inertia. In this introductory essay, we identify four co-evolutionary generative mechanisms (engines) - naive selection, managed selection, hierarchical renewal and holistic renewal - which illustrate the extensive range of evolutionary paths that can take place in a population of organizations. In particular, the managed selection engine provides the foundations of the underlying principles of co-evolving self-renewing organizations: managing internal rates of change, optimizing self-organization, and balancing concurrent exploration and exploitation. However, it is altogether clear that empirical co-evolution research represents the next frontier for empirically resolving the adaptation selection debate. The essay concludes with a discussion of requirements for co-evolutionary empirical research and introduces the empirical papers in this Special Research Symposium.

Suggested Citation

Volberda, Henk W. and Lewin, Arie Y., Co-Evolutionary Dynamics within and between Firms: From Evolution to Co-Evolution. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 40, pp. 2111-2136, December 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=467757

Henk W. Volberda (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2761 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9013 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eur.nl/fbk/dep/dep4/faculty_members/Henk_Volberda

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Arie Y. Lewin

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7832 (Phone)
919-681-6244 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/faculty/alpha/ayl3.htm

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