Organizational Ecology Theory: Organizations affected by their environments


Version:4 / 4    Updated Date:11/12/2014    Original Contributor:Barry    Latest Contributor:Barry
History:
Clarity: Logic: Support: Based on 2 rating(s) 

Key Words
Organizations, Ecology, Evolution

Background / Metatheory:

The theory of evolution by natural selection originated as a powerful explanatory tool in the biological sciences. Since Darwin's time, basic ideas from the theory have been modified and adapted in ways that permit their application to a variety of issues, ranging from how the human mind works to the emergence of multi-galactic structures. The approach has proven to be well-suited for adapting certain approaches in the "conflict theory" tradition of society. The idea that social organizations compete for scarce resources against on another, and as species-like clusters (e.g. industries) has turned out to be a useful perspective for understanding longer-term changes in the distribution of organizational forms.


Terms & Definitions:
  • frequency distribution - a summary of the incidences of particular types in comparison to other related types
  • organizational form - properties shared by members of a set of organizations
  • reproduce - generate new organizations of a similar form
  • resources - material requirements for optimal functioning
  • survival - persistence through time
  • variability - the existence of different structure or function
  • environment - aspects of an organization's surroundings that can provide or extract its resources
  • fitness - the conformity of an organization's needs to the resources obtainable in its environment, and/or the conformity of its defenses against forces that would extract its resources

Scope Conditions:
  1. The theory applies under the condition that there are sets of multiple organizations.
  2. The theory applies under the condition that all organizations require resources that also are needed by some other organizations.
  3. The theory applies under the condition that there is a mechanism that brings about variability across organizations.
  4. The theory applies under the condition that there are insufficient resources to sustain all organizations.
Propositions:
  1. The greater the fitness of an organization to its environment, the greater its chance of survival.
  2. The greater an organization's chance for survival, the more likely its form will be reproduced.
  3. The more likely an organizational form is reproduced, the greater its frequency in the distribution of organizational forms.
Derivations:
  1. The greater the fitness of an organization to its environment, the greater its frequency in the distribution of organizational forms.