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Using old concepts to gain new insights: addressing the issue of consistency


Jones, C, Using old concepts to gain new insights: addressing the issue of consistency, Management Decision, 45, (1) pp. 29-42. ISSN 0025-1747 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1108/00251740710718944


Purpose - This paper aims to go beyond a bookkeeping approach to evolutionary analysis whereby surviving firms are better adapted and extinct firms were less adapted. From discussion of the preliminary findings of research into the Hobart pizza industry, evidence is presented of the need to adopt a more traditional approach to applying evolutionary theories with organizational research. Design/methodology/approach - After a brief review of the relevant literature, the preliminary findings of research into the Hobart pizza industry are presented. Then, several evolutionary concepts that are commonplace in ecological research are introduced to help explain the emergent findings. The paper concludes with consideration given to advancing a more consistent approach to employing evolutionary theories within organizational research. Findings - The paper finds that the process of selection cannot be assumed to occur evenly across time and/or space. Within geographically small markets different forms of selection operate in different ways and degrees requiring the use of more traditional evolutionary theories to highlight the causal process associated with population change. Research limitations/implications - The paper concludes by highlighting Geoffrey Hodgson's Principle of Consistency. It is demonstrated that a failure to truly understand how and why theory is used in one domain will likely result in its misuse in another domain. That, at present, too few evolutionary concepts are employed in organisational research to ensure an appreciation of any underlying causal processes through which social change occurs. Originality/value - The concepts introduced throughout this paper, whilst not new, provide new entry points for organizational researchers intent on employing an evolutionary approach to understand the process of social change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Economics
Research Group:Other economics
Research Field:Other economics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Work and labour market
Objective Field:Work and labour market not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Jones, C (Dr Colin Jones)
ID Code:44780
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Management
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2008-04-05

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