What is the book about? Holistic Darwinism (HD) is Corning’s term for the new paradigm that is emerging as an alternative to Neo-Darwinism. HD views evolution as a dynamic, multilevel process, in which there is both “upward causation” (from the genes to the phenotype and higher levels of organization) and “downward causation” (phenotypic influences on […]
In business, as in nature, situational agility is a condition for access to resources and hence for adaptation and survival. But can strategy deliver such agility? And does the intentionality of individual players help to shape the strategy? Real options reasoning (ROR) theoretically secures a part for strategy to play, both in creating valuable resources and in adaptation. Yet because ROR adopts an essentially linear approach, it significantly understates both the value-creating and the adaptive potential of such a part. In this paper we argue firstly that those who draw upon ecological metaphors of organizations have largely ignored the role of strategic choice in value-creation and that ROR provides a good basis for the exercise of flexibility-preserving choices. Secondly we argue that the adroit use of multiple interacting options allows firms to harness the power of complexity thinking to the creation of value and to adapt to a greater range of environmental contingencies than is on offer in either the economic or financial treatment of options. Multiple interacting options thus extend the power of ROR to cover more complex and uncertain situations.
For years, organization theory has been pulled in opposite directions by the implicit themata of economics and of biology (Holton, 1973). Economics, on the one hand, has been Platonic and Newtonian in its orientation (Mirowski, 1989). It evolved with a focus on stable equilibria and, for that reason, found it difficult to handle discontinuous change—until […]
At the recent Academy of Management meeting in Toronto, Emergence sponsored a panel on the topic of why management academics do research. The panel consisted of Bernie Avishai, Max Boisot, Michael Cohen, Kevin Dooley, Alan Kantrow, Michael Lissack, Bill McKelvey, Tom Petzinger, and Jan Rivkin. Selected excerpts follow. Alan Kantrow We’re in the process of […]