POPULATIO ECOLOGY A D EVOLUTIO ARY ECO OMICS                                                    Toward an Integrative Mode...
88   Management Researchin-house arrangements that influence the decision-making             when one firm copies the char...
Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 891999)- We implemented the metatriangulation i...
90   Management Research   However, Hannan and Freeman (1984: 161) assume that               characteristics of the firms,...
Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 91optimizing the organizational form in order t...
92    Management Researchdynamics, characterizes the evolutionary approach to econom-           Increased variety is promp...
Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 93 uncertainty of calculating the information r...
single product expand rapidly. On the other hand, in a slow               Finally, it is worth stressing that, from the st...
Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 95ties and underscoring differences and constra...
96   Management Research   It is worth highlighting that research projects conducted        the environment is centered on...
Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrativethe relationship between the multitiered environmental...
98   Management Researchcomparing them, in terms of their effects on the alignment          organizational routines, skill...
Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 99for studying the relationship between the dis...
100 Management ResearchREFERE CES                                                                 --------- . 1981. Introd...
Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 101Hannan, M.T., Si Freeman, J. 1977. The popul...
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Bataglia meirelles population_ecology_and_evolutionary_economics_._2009_

  1. 1. POPULATIO ECOLOGY A D EVOLUTIO ARY ECO OMICS Toward an Integrative Model WALTER BATAGLIA and DIMÁRIA SILVA E MEIRELLES ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to identify complementarities between the approaches of population ecology and evolutionary economics in order to contribute to a synthesis of organizational evolutionary dynamics and its implications for a strategic management research model. Using the metatriangulation technique to construct theories, we attempt to entwine these two perspectives. The proposed model is structured in two dimensions: the environmental selective system and the corporate adaptation process. The environmental selective system gathers together the complementary factors pre- sented by evolutionary economics and ecology: technological innovation, demographic processes, environmental dynamism, population density and other institutional processes, and interpopulation dynamics. As ecology does not encompass the corporate adaptation process (generation, selection, and propagation of variations), the proposed model adopts the theo- retical grounds underpinning evolutionary economics. The model offers three main contributions for future research into strategic management. First, it allows the development of descriptive and normative studies of the relationship among the environmental selection factors and the different types of enterprise strategies. Second, the proposed conceptual framework may be very beneficial for studies of interorganizational learning. Third, the model has the advantage of responding to the criticism of strategy theories in terms of their inability to generalize. RESUMEN: El objetivo de este documento es determinar Ia complementariedad entre los planteamientos de Ia ecologia poblacional y economia evolutiva con ei fin de contribuir a una síntesis de Ia dinâmica evolutiva de Ias organizaciones y sus consecuencias para un modelo de investigación en Ia gestión estrarégica. Utilizando Ia meta triangulación como técnica para construir teorias, intentamos entrelazar estas dos perspectivas. El modelo propuesto está estructurado en dos dimensiones: ei sistema de selección ambiental y ei proceso de adaptación corporativo. El sistema de selección ambiental reúne los factores complementarios presentados por Ia economia evolutiva y ecologia: Ia innovación tecnológica, procesos demográficos, dinamismo ambiental, densidad de población y otros procesos institucionales, y Ia dinâmica de inter po- blación. Como Ia ecologia no abarca los procesos de adaptación de Ias empresas (generación, selección y Ia propagación de Ias variaciones), ei modelo propuesto adopta los fundamentos que sustentan Ia economia evolutiva. El modelo ofrece três principales contribuciones para futuras investigaciones sobre gestión estratégica. En primer lugar, permite ei desarrollo de estúdios descriptivos y normativos de Ia relación entre los factores de selección ambiental y los diferenres tipos de estratégias de Ias empresas. Segundo, Ia estructura conceptual propuesta puede ser muy beneficiosa para los estúdios de inter-aprendizaje organizacional. En tercer lugar, ei modelo tiene Ia ventaja de responder a Ias críticas de Ias teorias a cerca de estratégia en términos de su incapacidad para generalizar.The importance of environmental dynamics for strategy theory structure, such as the concentration levels of suppliers oris a topic that is still little explored. Instead of dealing with competitors and growth rates. Along these lines, there is someenvironmental dynamics per se, traditional approaches address redundancy in the association between the characteristics ofthe environment in a static, aggregate manner (Boston Con- the industrial structure and optimal conduct and performancesulting Group, 1968; Buzzell, Gale, & Sultan, 1975; Porter, by firms (Demsetz, 1973). On the other hand, conduct toward1980). On one hand, the environment is described essentially the environment is merely reactive, disregarding the specificon the basis of the general characteristics of the industrial characteristics of the firms, their skills, competences, andWalter Bataglia is an assistant professor of management in Presby- Dimária Silva e Meirelles is an assistant professor in Presbyterianterian University Mackenzie where he teaches organization theory, University Mackenzie where she teaches business management andstrategic management, and evolutionary dynamics of enterprises. evolutionary dynamics of enterprises. She received her Ph.D. (2003)He received his Ph.D. (2006) in business administration from the in economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).Faculty of Economics, Administration, and Accountancy (FEA) at Her research focuses on evolutionary processes in organizationalUniversity of São Paulo (USP). His interests include interorgani- populations and industries.zational relations and institutional, ecological, and evolutionary The authors acknowledge the financial support of MAKCPESQUISA—processes in organizational populations and industries. Fundo Mackenzie de Pesquisa. Management Research, vol. 7, no. 2 (Spring 2009), pp. 87-101. © 2009 M.E.Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1536-5433 / 2009 J9.50 + 0.00. DÓI 10.2753/JMR1536-5433070201
  2. 2. 88 Management Researchin-house arrangements that influence the decision-making when one firm copies the characteristics of other firms (Camp-process (Reve, 1990). bell, 1965; 1974); (2) selective propagation of time-related An environment-based approach to the study of organiza- variations, through which the firm duplicates and propagatestions has become increasingly important since the late 195Os, variations that arise spontaneously in response to institutionalwhen the concept of the environment was introduced through pressures, creative flair, or errors that eventually lead to betterideas related to systems theory. Since then, the environment practices (Campbell, 1977b; 1981); and (3) rational selection,hás certainly played an influential role, with interest focused through which the agents constituting the firm perceive po-on the paths where this influence functions (Hatch, 1997). tentially better variations through analyzing its activities andUnder the aegis of modern theories dealing with the relation- the environment (Campbell, 1977a).ship between the organization and its environment, particu- In the field of organizational theory, population ecologylarly outstanding approaches are the population ecology of expressed in the studies of Hannan and Freeman (1977;organizations and evolutionary economics (Baum & Singh, 1989), among others, assumes that organizations flourish1994; Levinthal, 1994; Montgomery, 1995). Based on the and fade on the basis of their ability to adapt to the selectionlogic of natural selection through biological evolution, these processes in the environments where they operate. Organiza-evolutionary approaches assume that the relationship between tions are affected by their environments, shaped by the modelsthe firm and its environment explains the differentiated sur- through which their administrators formulate strategies,vival of firms, offering promising contributions in the field of make decisions, and implement them. In the field of econom-strategic management, particularly with regard to dynamic ics, evolutionary economics expressed in the work of Nelsonenvironments. and Winter (1982), among others, based on the concepts The evolutionary approaches of the firm present a two- of Schumpeter (1934), apply the evolutionary model basedtiered analysis—the selection system of the environment and on biological selection in a pioneering manner in order tothe adaptation process of the firm. Environmental selection understand changes in the economic environment. The focusanalysis focuses on the selection logics of the competitive is largely on innovative technological dynamics, industrialenvironment that determine the survival of the firms. Firm development, and market structures, as well as growth andadaptation analysis, on the other hand, concentrates on (1) the business cycles (Witt, 1992).generation of variations in organizational activities designed However, these evolutionary theories do not satisfactorilyto fine-tune its alignment with the selection system of the indicate the links between the micro (firm) and the macroenvironment, and (2) in-house selection and propagation of (environment) levels of the analysis. Population ecology directsthese variations. its interest toward detailed examinations of the selection logics The variation and selective retention (VSR) model proposed and processes of the competitive environment, neglecting theby Campbell (1965) consolidates the application of the logic issue of variations and their implications for strategy. Mean-guiding biological selection to firms that appears in the semi- while, although evolutionary economics concentrates on varia-nal works by Alchian (1950) and Hawley (1966). The works tions in the environment, examining their consequences onby these authors have definitively influenced the field of study strategic behavior, it reduces the logic and the environmentalfor organizational evolution through their influence on early selection process to technological innovations.researchers and students from the 1960s through the 1980s, In order to identify complementarities between approachessuch as Bill McKelvey, Sidney Winter, Howard Aldrich, Mike of population ecology of organizations and evolutionary eco-Hannan, John Freeman, Karl Weick, Jerry Salancik, and Joel nomics that may contribute to the synthesis on organizationalBaum (Baum & McKelvey, 1999). evolutionary dynamics, this paper explores paths for dealing The VSR model presents three main components—vari- with studies and research into the dynamics of the competi-ations, selection, and retention. For Campbell (1965), firms tive environment and its implications for a research model instrive to enhance their ability to survive and their effectiveness the strategic management area. It is important to stress theand efficiency in attaining their goals through adapting their stimulus in this field of outstanding researchers in the área,activities to environmental demands. Attempts at changing such as Murmann, Aldrich, Levinthal, and Winter (2003).established activities constitute variations in ways of doing At the conceptual level, we use an epistemological crossthings. Variations that lead to a better-adjusted alignment section, highlighting a transversal view of the evolutionarybetween the firm and its environment are selected for reten- approaches of population ecology and evolutionary economics.tion, duplicated, and propagated in-house throughout the At the methodological level, we apply the metatriangulationfirm. For the author, the outcome of this process is evolution, technique in order to highlight points of similarity and diver-in the sense of a better alignment between the organization gence between these two theoretical approaches, attemptingand the selection system of the environment. There are three to overlap and entwine construals into a new understandingtypes of sources for these variations: (1) diffusion or imitation, (Gioia & Pitre, 1990; Grimes &Rood, 1995;Lewis&Grimes,
  3. 3. Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 891999)- We implemented the metatriangulation in four stages. Hannan and Freeman (1977) view an organizational popula-In the first stage, we analyzed individually and in detail tion as being similar to the concept of the species in biology: athe vision of each approach to the relationship between the cluster of firms with the same organizational form or structure.firm and its environment. In the second stage, we developed These authors defined the organizational form analogouslymetaconjectures—that is, interpretative propositions based to the DNA protein chains that contain the entire set of in-on two theoretical approaches to relationships between the structions for the development of certain biotic structures. Infirm and its environment. In the third stage, we aimed at other words, for the authors, the organizational form is thedeveloping a multiparadigmatic standpoint, striving to ex- genotype of the firm—that is, the set of instructions for thepand conventional theoretical definitions in order to reach an development of a certain type of firm and for the conductionunderstanding that could accommodate both approaches. In of collective actions by its components. In operational terms,the fourth and final stage, we completed the metatriangula- it may be defined through four key dimensions, the phenotypetion with a criticism of the resulting theory and the process of the firm—organizational objectives, types of authority,of its construction. technologies, and markets (Hannan & Freeman, 1984; Rao & The main lesson from this theory-building exercise was that Singh, 1999). The organizational form assigns a set of similarthe ecology and evolutionary economics models are similar and risks and advantages to the population of firms for survival,complementary, with no antagonistic aspects between them, thus generating a characteristic of unity. On the other hand,but rather are distinct analytical standpoints with intrinsic populations interrelate among themselves in a competitiveflaws. The resulting model presents a two-tiered analysis: or symbiotic manner, forming organizational communitiesthe selection system of the environment and the adaptation (Brittain & Wholey, 1988).processes of the firms. Competitive dynamics ground the se- Ecology strives to explain the diversity found in the levelslection system of the environment, with the selection factors of the population and the community. To do só, it starts outgathering the complementary factors proposed by ecology from the principle established by Hawley (1966) that there isand evolutionary economics: technological innovation, demo- an isomorphism between the diversity of organizational formsgraphíc processes (related to age and size), environmental dy- and the diversity of environments. It adopts an evolutionarynamism, population density and other institutional processes, model, assuming that in each distinguishable environmentand interpopulation dynamics. As ecology does not deal with only populations adapted to its specific demands can survive.the adaptation process of the firms (generation, selection, and Ecology provides two key contributions to the Hawley model.propagation of variations in the organizational activities), the First, it supplements the model by explicitly highlight-theoretical foundation of evolutionary economics supports ing competition as a mechanism generating isomorphismthis dimension of the model, allowing the focus to be shifted (Hannan & Freeman, 1977). As the resources available tofrom ecological research projects examining selection logic firms in the environment are finite and the growth capacityto environmental variations and their strategic implications. of populations is unlimited, competition becomes inevitable,The model offers three main contributions for future research constituting the environmental selection mechanism. Theinto strategic management. First, it allows the development of second is questioning the assumptions presented by Hawleydescriptive and normative studies of the relationship among on the adaptation capacity of firms in uncertain and hetero-the environmental selection factors and the different types geneous environments. The view is that the rigidity of theof enterprise strategies. Second, the proposed conceptual organizational structure required to comply with demands forframework may be beneficial for studies of interorganizational reliability and justifiability in performance would give rise tolearning. Third, the model has the advantage of responding inertial pressures against changes. Consequently, this wouldto the criticism of strategy theories in terms of their inability curtail the ability of firms to adjust and align with the environ-to generalize. ment through variations in their core characteristics (Hannan & Freeman, 1984: 154—155). From this standpoint, attempts POPULATION ECOLOGY at change, even when intended to ensure the survival of the firm, will lead to the obsolescence of the routines, skills, com-The starting point for population ecology is the seminal text by petences, and relationships with environmental players that theHannan and Freeman (1977) titled "The Population Ecology firm developed in the course of its operations. Consequently,of Organizations." Inspired by the question "Why are there this would bring solidly established firms at more advancedsó many kinds of organizations?" population ecology tries to stages of bureaucratization down to a level similar to that ofexplain how political, economic, and social conditions affect newcomers, with a greater risk of collapse over the short term.the relative abundance and diversity of types of organization, With regard to organizational innovation, the ecology thesistrying to justify the mutating composition of organizations is that the probability of the occurrence of variations wouldover time (Baum, 1996). decrease with the age and size of the firms.
  4. 4. 90 Management Research However, Hannan and Freeman (1984: 161) assume that characteristics of the firms, such as age and size, on the failurefirms managing to survive changes in the core characteristics and founding rates in an organizational population.over the short term would face declining risks of failure over the With regard to the influence of age, the prevailing view iscourse of time, as they would reestablish their organizational that younger organizations are more likely to present higherlegitimacy. These authors thus indicate that organizations can failure rates than older organizations, suffering a liability ofsurmount the short-term negative effects through managing newness, due to the need to learn roles and create organiza-the process of change. On the other hand, Amburgey, Kelly, tional routines (Freeman & Hannan, 1983). For Hannan andand Barnett (1993) suggest that organizational changes are Freeman (1984), selective pressures in stable environmentslinked to the progress of the firm. By making changes, the favor organizations able to demonstrate that they are reliableorganization will make change itself into a routine. Moreover, and have justification, demanding high reproductive capaci-these authors foresee that the effect of past changes on new ties. As selection processes favor replicable structures, olderchanges would be dynamic. The repetition of specific changes organizations are less likely to fail than start-ups. Thus, failurewould occur with great probability during the period subse- rates rise initially as start-up funding runs out for new firms,quent to their occurrence, declining over time. Baum (1996) tending to drop as they build up reliability and justificationpresents a broad-ranging review of ecological literature on (Fischman & Levinthal, 1991)- This phenomenon is knownorganizational change and failure, noting that current research as liability of adolescence. As alignment with the environmentprojects do not seem to uphold the hypothesis that the prob- slips out of kilter due to outside variations, the organizationalability of changes drops with the age and the size of the firms. failure rate starts to rise again. This phenomenon is known asEcological theory remains muddled with regard to structural liability of obsolescence and senescence (Ingram, 1993). Figure linertia. Firms change in response to environmental stimuli, summarizes the effects of age in stable environments.usually without adverse effects. With regard to size, the view is that growth contributes However, due to the idea of structural inertia, the evolu- to inertia in organizations. As selective pressures and stabletionary model for ecology assigns prevalence to environmental environments favor structurally inert organizations due to theirselection in terms of the adaptation of the firm (development reliability, larger organizations are considered as being less vul-of variations and their retention and propagation throughout nerable to the risks of failure (Hannan & Freeman, 1984).the firm). "Extending the received wisdom about adaptation[Hawleys adaptationist premises] requires specification of Ecological Processesthe underlying dynamic processes and attention to {envi-ronmental} selection. In the organizational world, selection This second theme-specific group of environmental factorsoccurs through the emergence and demise of organizational related to selective elimination gathers those linked to theforms, which depend on the fates of individual organizations" influence of environmental dynamism and intra- and inter-(Hannan, Pólos, & Carroll, 2007: 18). Interest focuses on the population dynamics on the founding and failure rates of theenvironmental logics of selection elimination linked to com- populations.petition and the dynamism of the environment. Along these In stable environments, firms seek an organizational formlines, there are two basic ecological considerations. The first, that is optimized for responding to environmental demands,linked to competitive dynamics, is related to the available becoming specialists in this field. In dynamic environments,capacity in the environment to underpin the expansion of vari- outside variations tend to reduce the alignment capacity ofous organizational forms. The second, linked to environmental the organizational form with the environment, stepping updynamism, focuses on the growth rate (or shrinkage) of popu- the risk of failure as age and size increase. In order to operatelations when environmental characteristics change. Conse- in this type of environment, firms deploy two possible strate-quently, theory and research in this field focus on the founding gies. The first strategy for dynamic environments, which isand failure rates of organizational populations as analysis units. generalist strategy, consists of seeking an organizational formThe environmental factors related to selective elimination that is not optimally adapted to any special environmentalassociated with organizational establishment and failure may configuration but is optimum in terms of the total set of pos-be grouped into three theme-specific blocks—demographic sible configurations. Thus, organizations become generalistsprocesses, ecological processes, and environmental processes. (Freeman & Hannan, 1983). This generalist approach requiresThese factors are presented below. a stockpile of organizational headroom—that is, capacities held in reserve that are not committed to action (for example,Demographic Processes personnel qualification levels) although available for dealing with environment variations, thus ensuring flexibility (Han-This first theme-specific block gathers the environmental fac- nan & Freeman, 1977). The second strategy for dynamictors related to selective elimination linked to the effects of the environments, which is the specialist strategy, consists of
  5. 5. Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 91optimizing the organizational form in order to respond to a and failure rates in organizational populations. Factors linkednarrow range of environmental configurations. This strategy to the institutional environment are tied to institutional con-is preferred for environments where variations are frequent formity. Political turbulence affects social alignments through(Hannan & Freeman, 1977). These environments are called breaking away from established relationships and releasingrefined. Consequently, generalist organizations will seem inef- funds for new firms (Carroll, 1983). For example, governmentficient compared to their specialist counterparts, due to idle regulations may stimulate demand, regulate competition, andcapacity that is frequently considered as wasted. offer subsidies (Barnett & Carroll, 1993). Connections with Still, from the standpoint of the ecological process, many community and public institutions enhance legitimacy, pos-research projects have focused on intrapopulation dynamics. sibly providing funds and thus reducing organizational failuresEarlier founding and failure patterns for a population may (Baum & Oliver, 199D-influence the founding rate (Delacroix & Carroll, 1983). Earlierfoundings indicate a fertile niche for potential entrepreneurs. The institutional environment constitutes the broadest socialHowever, as more firms are founded, the competition for re- context for the occurrence of ecological processes: the institu-sources also becomes keener, discouraging newcomers. Along tional environment may prescribe the environmental selectionthe same lines, initial increases in population density lead to criteria to judge whether an organization or entire population must survive or not. (Baum, 1996: 162)the greater cognitive legitimacy of a population, triggeringan upsurge in the start-ups rate and a drop in the failures rate On the other hand, technological innovation hás the potential(Hannan & Carroll, 1992; Haveman, 1994). On the other to influence organizational populations deeply, as it may shatterhand, populations develop relationships with other popula- markets and alter the relative importance of an assortment oftions engaged in activities linked to their own, affecting each resources, challenging organizational learning capacities andother through two-way influences (Baum & Oliver, 1991; altering the nature of the competition (Cohen & Levinthal,Rao & Singh, 1999)- Interpopulation relations are based on 1990). Technological cycles into which new and radicallyvaried leveis of competition and symbiosis (Brittain & Wholey, different technologies are introduced, excluding outdated1988). technologies, allow the establishment of new orders of mag- nitude and performance that can contribute to the establish-Environmental Processes ment of new enterprises and turn them into technologically superior contenders (Dosi, 1984; Tushman & Anderson, 1986;The third theme-specific block aligns the environmental fac- Van de Ven & Garud, 1994).tors related to selective elimination associated with the insti- This focus on technological changes and their impacttutional and technological levels that influence the founding on environmental dynamics, more specifically on economic
  6. 6. 92 Management Researchdynamics, characterizes the evolutionary approach to econom- Increased variety is prompted by the introduction of newics, presented below. sectors, as well as enhanced productivity in existing sectors. The creation process may be exemplified when changes occur in technological paradigms, with new companies being set up EVOLUTIONARY ECONOMICS creating new production techniques, new products, and new forms of production organization (Dosi, 1984). The selectionThe starting line for the evolutionary approach to economics and retention process is the result of the competition process,is the book by Nelson and Winter (1982), An Evolutionary with profit as the expression of the selection and the source ofTheory of Economic Change, rated as a classic in this field, which constant adaptations by the firms (Nelson & Winter, 1982).establishes the general lines of an evolutionary economic The competition triggers changes in the capacities of thetheory. The core issue is to understand the behavior of the firm, competitors through selection (the best-adapted organizationits capacities, and its limits for adapting in an environment survives) or adaptation (less-adapted organizations change).of changes (Nelson & Winter, 2002). From this standpoint, The new capacities that improve the adjustment of firms toevolutionary economics appears as a theoretical field that is the environmental selective system pressures are this wayeminently contrary to the assumptions adopted by the or- kept and propagated. The intensity of selection pressuresthodox neoclassical approach, particularly with regard to the on the market plays a crucial role in determining the speedhypothesis of the maximizing rationality of the agents and of response of firms in terms of enhancing their competitiveoptimizing behavior, which leads to a trend toward an even capacities.balance in the economic system. An evolutionary approach ineconomics constitutes a field for investigation that is essentiallyinterdisciplinary. According to Saviotti and Metcalfe (1991), The Firm, Routines, and Selection Environmentsthe main theoretical lines underpinning an evolutionary ap- According to Dosi and Teece (1993), the firm is based onproach are the theory of innovation developed by Schumpeter, specific skills and competences for coordinating activitiesthe theory of the evolution of species in biology, the theory and learning about new activities in complex environmentsof systems and thermodynamics in physics, and the theory of undergoing constant changes. These competences underpinorganizations in management. the competitive capacity of the firm, consisting of an articu- Although rejecting the label of evolutionary, Schumpeter is lated set of abilities, complementary assets, and organizationalconsidered as the seminal author by evolutionary authors. In routines.fact, evolutionary authors use evolutionary analysis to consider The routines constitute the basis for reproducing skills andeconomic dynamics as proposed by Schumpeter (Nelson & competences under the aegis of the firm. Along these lines, theWinter, 1982: 39). From a Schumpeterian view, the process concept of routine is similar to that of the gene in biology—of innovation is the basis of competition in a capitalist system, that is, a persistent (hereditary) characteristic of the firm thatwith the sources of innovation being organized research and determines its future behavior, as is the case with the replica-corporate development drives. Thus, innovation is an adaptive tion of new units. The routines correspond to the genotype ofresponse to a rapidly changing environment with constant the firm, constituting its organizational form, operationallyimbalance. defined by the set of dominant technical and administrative The inspiration in biology is based on the adoption of the competences (McKelvey), or by its core competence (Dosi &concepts of variation, selection, adaptation, and heredity, as Teece, 1993). The notion of routine reflects the influence of theproposed by Campbell (1969). theory of organizations on the evolutionary approach, based on the firm behavioral theory of Cyert and March (1992) and Sociobiological literature, or that part of it which applies evolutionary theory to human social behavior, links analysis of Simon (1955). Based on the principle of bounded rationality, biological selection mechanisms to a long-standing tradition the concept of routine reflects an analytical standpoint focused of study of sociocultural evolution. Campbell (1969) provided on the process of choice rather than on a set of choices through an excellent survey of that broad field and argued for the which the maximum profits is sought, as proposed in the merits of a variation and cultural selection—retention theory neoclassic theory. The optimum point is substituted by the of sociocultural evolution. Our own work may be viewed as a specialized branch of such a theory, as may the work of econo- satisfactory, meaning that firms seek profit, but not necessarily mists and lawyers exploring the evolution of the common law maximum profit (Simon, 1955). and the efforts of organization theorists who have taken the As presented by Dosi and Egidi (1991), the solution of evolutionary tack. (Nelson & Winter, 1982: 43) problems through routines is characteristic of environments suffering from procedural uncertainty, where uncertainty Variation is defined by the number of players, activities, and emerges due to the complexity of the decision-making process.objects required in the composition of an economic system. In other words, "routinized" decision processes diminish the
  7. 7. Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 93 uncertainty of calculating the information required to resolve different, opening up a broad range of opportunities in terms the problem. This concept of procedural uncertainty perme- of science and technology (Malerba, 2002). ates formal models of evolutionary economics in the sense that According to the definition proposed by Malerba and the players in the organizations lack the capacity to "take a Orsenigo (1993), the technological environment is defined broader view" of the environmental context and decide on the on the basis of the conditions of opportunity, appropriability, best alternative to be adapted by the organization, or even to and degrees of cumulativeness of technological knowledge, understand the causal structure of organizational experiences in addition to the nature of the related knowledge base. Op- or deduce the best strategy for the players (Nelson & Winter, portunity reflects the ease of innovation for any amount of 1982). money and resources invested in research.1 Appropriability According to Nelson and Winter (1982: 14), routines re- summarizes the possibilities of protecting innovations from flect the daily life of the company, meaning they are regular imitations and generating profits through activities based on and predictive in terms of corporate behavior, ranging from innovation: poor appropriability conditions denote economic technical decisions on production through to investment environment characterized by the ample existence of externali- decisions. Routines may be classified into three categories: ties. Cumulativeness is related to the path-dependent nature operating routines—that is, routine activities of the firm, given of the innovative process, where todays innovations and in- its inventory of capital, equipment, plants, and other pro- novative activities form the foundations and building blocks duction factors; investment routines—that is, activities for the for constructing the innovations of tomorrow; that is, todays establishment of the inventory of capital (production factors innovative firms are more likely to innovate in the future than that are fixed over the short term); and change routines—that is, their noninnovative counterparts.2 Finally, the knowledge base activities for changing operating characteristics (search routines), is defined along two dimensions—tacitness and complexity. conducted by marketing departments, research and develop- The tacitness level drops as knowledge becomes more codified, ment (R&D) laboratories, and so forth. The search routines with easier access. The complexity level is defined on the inter- spur the mutation process of the firm, similar to the process connection levels among the various types of knowledge and in biology where mutations occur within a genetic base. From disciplines (scientific and technological), as well as the actual this standpoint, the process of evolution is partly deterministic variety of skills and competences related to the production and partly stochastic. On one hand, the operating routines process, demand characteristics, access of suppliers, materials, define the quantity of inputs used and goods produced. To- outside R&D activities, and só forth. gether with the market supply and demand conditions, these The compositions of these dimensions of the technological quantities define the prices of inputs, feedstock, and goods, regime vary among sectors, and it is these compositions that and consequently the profits of the firm. On the other hand, define a menu of options and trade-offs in terms of techno- the profits resulting from the market selection process imply logical Strategies and basic types of organization for firms constant reviews of production and investment decisions made (Figure 2). The more tacit and complex the knowledge, the by firms, including the establishment of new search routines greater the need for total integration through the development (Nelson & Winter, 1982). of internal codes and Communications channels, in addition It is worth noting that routines change in response to the to the integration of scattered fragments of knowledge, with environmental changes. They also undergo a selection process; weaker abilities or possibilities of transferring it to other firms, that is, firms with certain routines perform certain functions or that the latter may assimilate and reproduce such knowl- better than others and consequently tend to increase their edge. On the other hand, the less complex the knowledge base relative importance in the firm population. This way the VSR and the higher the levei of technological pervasiveness, the model (Campbell, 1965) also applies to the level of the firm greater the opportunity for diversification. (Levinthal, 2007). Dosi and Teece (1993) show that the dimensions of the technological regime are not defined only outside the firm. Technological and Organizational Strategies Although closely related to the industry, technological op- portunities are also influenced and nurtured by the innova- The concept of routine is crucial for defining the Strategies of tions developed by firms through their research activities. the firm, as the strategy is construed as the policies of the firm Along these lines, Dosi and Teece propose a triple-pronged or the highest rules for guiding decision making (Nelson & organizational strategy typology: in-house learning processes Winter, 1982). Decisions are not made in an arbitrary manner, of the firm, forces that demarcate and focus the learning pro- regardless of the technical, economic, and market contexts cesses (path dependence, complementary assets, technological within which the firm operates. In other words, from the evolu- opportunities, transaction costs), and the selection environ- tionary economics standpoint, the technological environment ment. In fast-learning situations, with ample technological and the conditions in which the agents function may be very opportunities and steady progress, firms specializing in a94
  8. 8. single product expand rapidly. On the other hand, in a slow Finally, it is worth stressing that, from the standpoint oflearning context with a steady course (high path dependence) evolutionary economics, the innovation process is essentiallyand specialized assets, specialized firms may be expected to interactive. Along these lines, corporate behavior may beevolve to some level of horizontal integration and significant understood only through the links between the skills andvertical integration. competences of the firm and the development of the industry, In fast-learning situations with a lengthy evolutionary guided by technologies, demands, and institutions (Malerbatrack record due to the presence of generic technologies and & Orsenigo, 1993). Firms do not innovate on a stand-alonea strongly selective environment, diversified firms are found. basis, as innovation is grounded on a collective process whereWhen the path dependence is low, the learning curve is flattish firms interact with others in addition to other institutionsand the selection environment is weak, conglomerates or other such as universities, government departments, and researchhighly diversified companies are noted, with few intracorporate centers. These links among many different players constitutetransactions. In fast-learning contexts, with technologies on what is called the innovation system, which presents three leveiscollision paths and highly selective environments, firms are of analysis—national (Lundvall, 1992), regional, and sectoralfound in networks, enmeshed in a dense tangle of intercor- (Malerba, 2002). Interaction among players is a complexporate relationships through holdings, joint ventures, and process that largely defines the dynamics of the innovationstrategic alliances. If the learning curve is flatter, there will be system (Saviotti, 1997).a possibility of firms diversifying in-house, with no need forinterfirm agreements. In a situation with converging technol- A SUMMARIZED PROPOSAL FOR STUDYINGogy paths, the establishment of hollow corporations is more THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FIRMlikely through establishing contracts for quickly assembling AND ITS ENVIRONMENTan assortment of capacities that address the development andsale of a product. Unless their organizational routines are This section presents a comparison of the evolutionary modelsConsolidated, these firms will probably not survive in highly for population ecology and evolutionary economics throughselective environments. critical reflection on each model, summarizing their similari-
  9. 9. Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 95ties and underscoring differences and constraints. It also pres- the selection factors (age and size, environmental dynamism,ents a sketch of a model that gathers the complementarities population density, interpopulation dynamics, and institu-of these approaches through a two-tier analysis—the selective tional and technological processes).system of the environment and the adaptation process of the Although its basic intention is to understand the constantlyfirm (generation, retention, and propagation of variations). shifting composition of organizations ("Why are there soThe purpose of this model is to underpin the study and un- many types of organizations?"), ecology ranks environmentalderstanding of the evolutionary dynamics of organizations and selection high, generally neglecting the adaptation processtheir implications for a strategic management research model, (development of organizational variations and their reten-particularly from the standpoint of the relationship between tion and propagation throughout the firm) due to the ideathe organization and its environment. of structural inertia. Paradoxically, the focus of ecological research projects examining structural inertia has focused onSimilarities, Differences, and Limitations of the influence of demographic process (related to age and size)Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics on organizational changes in firm populations. The problem is that there is no theoretical and methodological support forGrounded on the logic of natural selection in biology applied dealing with organizational adaptation in ecology. The catego-to organizations, the evolutionary models for ecology and rization of the changes to be studied has been developed in aevolutionary economics are striving to understand the variety fairly broad-ranging manner, such as the study by Amburgeyof organizational forms and their shifting composition over et ai. (1993), for example, which examined variations in thetime. For both, competitive dynamics constitutes the core content and layout of newspapers, or the study by Havemanof the environmental selection process. This is based on the (1992), which analyzed variations in home mortgages. Theassumption that the environment in which firms operate is internai varieties of the categories established for analysis havechanging constantly, always unbalanced, só that organizations been considered as equivalent, thus blunting the accuracy andmust adapt rapidly to their environmental context in order realism of the research projects. In order to understand theto survive in these competitive processes. Similar to biology, adaptation process better, it seems that corporate competencesboth theoretical approaches define the organizational form as and routines require more direct measurements.the genotype of the firm. For ecology, this would correspond In turn, for evolutionary economics, competitive dynamicsto the DNA proteins structure—that is, the set of instruc- are based on technological innovation and the institutionaltions for structuring a specific type of firm and the conduct of aspects of the innovative process. It studies the competitivethe collective actions of its components (Hannan & Freeman, environment as much as the corporate adaptation process to its1984). Evolutionary economics defines the routines of the firm demands. Along these lines, the analysis units include the firmlike its genes. Thus, the organizational form is shaped by the as well as the technological environment and the institutionalset of dominant technícal and administrative competences aspects of the innovative process, expressed in the national,(McKelvey, 1982) or by its core competence (Dosi & Teece, regional, and sectoral innovation system constructs. This con-1993). sequently highlights one of the constraints of the evolutionary Differences between evolutionary economics and ecology approach to economics. It stresses the logics of environmentalare related mainly to the type of approach of the selection selection based on technological innovation to the detriment ofenvironment, more specifically the factors shaping the com- the others. An example is the social and political process thatpetitive dynamics and their implications on feasible strategies. permeates market evolution (Fligstein, 1996). EvolutionaryDifferences in analytical standpoints also give rise to differing economics neglects the institutional processes building upanalysis units. shared rules on the competitive and cooperative relationships In ecology, competitive dynamics is linked to the dispute among firms that are not tied to technological innovation andfor finite resources (such as raw materials, qualified labor, their effects on environmental selection.funding, and others) at the population level. The popula- On the other hand, when evolutionary economics dealstions are gathered into communities and present symbiotic with the adaptation processes of the firms based on search andor competitive relationships among themselves. Faced by the selection routines, it offers massive contributions in the fieldunlimited growth capacity of the populations, competition, of strategic management, bridging one of the constraints ofand the environmental dynamism, each market selects for sur- ecology. This approach enables firms to define organizationalvival the populations that are best adapted to their demands, and technological strategies based on the conditions shapingthus establishing an isomorphism between the diversity of the the technological regime (Malerba & Orsenigo, 1993) and theirpopulations (or the organizational forms) and the diversity of in-house conditions, such as the ownership of complementarythe environments. The analysis unit adopted is the growth (or assets and the evolutionary path followed by the firms (Dosishrinkage) rate of the organizational populations in terms of & Teece, 1993).
  10. 10. 96 Management Research It is worth highlighting that research projects conducted the environment is centered on competitive dynamics, withunder the aegis of evolutionary economics, at the firm levei, the selection factors gathering the complementary factorshave disregarded two points. The first refers to the weak proposed by evolutionary economics and ecology: techno-commitment of the field to the study of the selection process logical innovation, demographic processes (related to agefor the variations developed by firms (Levinthal, 2007: 293). and size), environmental dynamism, population density andThe second corresponds to the limited attention paid to the other institutional processes, and interpopulation dynamics.role of coordinating and settling disputes that take place on As ecology does not examine the adaptation processes of theorganizational routines and competences (Coriat, 2000: 216). firm (generation, selection, and propagation of variations), theHowever, it is important to stress that these disregarded as- proposed model adopts the theoretical foundation of evolution-pects are noted in the research projects conducted, rather than ary economics for this aspect (March & Simon, 1993; Nelsonfrom the evolutionary model standpoint, which stipulates the & Winter, 1982). In other words, the model views firms asadaptation process and the grounds required for analysis and repositories of organizational capacities and routines that strivestudy at this levei. for alignment with the demands of the selection environment in order to attain their objectives in an effective and efficaciousComplementarity Between the Population Ecology and manner, stepping up their chances of survival. To do so, firmsEvolutionary Economics Models: A Proposed Synthesis attempt to introduce variations in their routines, skills, and competences and select the ones that enhance this alignmentAs noted, the ecology and evolutionary economics models are for retention and dissemination throughout themselves.similar and complementary. They have no antagonistic aspects According to evolutionary economics and ecology, thebetween them, but rather distinct analytical standpoints with model takes on the organizational form as the genotype of theintrinsic flaws. We outline a model below that gathers the firm, viewed as the production and management technologycomplementarities of these two approaches based on a two- of the organization. The model embodies the ecological ideatiered analysis—the selective system in the environment and that firms with the same organizational form are grouped intothe adaptation process of the firm (generation, retention, and populations, while these populations gather into communities,propagation of variations). developing symbiotic or competitive relationships. The selec- Initially, the analysis level of the firm is considered. Evo- tion system of the environment works at all three levels—firm,lutionary economics addresses the issue of organizational ad- population, and community. Moreover, these levels interact,aptation based on the firm behavioral theory (Cyert & March, establishing a multitiered environmental selection system.1992; March & Simon, 1993) and the Schumpeterian theory of This standpoint extends beyond the idea of multilevel analysiscompetition, grounded on the process of innovation. In turn, as such. As explained by Howard Aldrich:ecology does not deal with the process of generating, selecting,and propagating variations in organizational activities, instead multilevel selection means that we take seriously the pos-concentrating on the environmental selection system. Thus, sibility that what benefits, or alternatively what decreases,from the standpoint of adaptation by the firm, evolutionary the fitness of a unit within a larger unit actually raises the fitness of the larger unit. Evolutionary explanations cannoteconomics complements ecology with the theoretical founda- always be straightforward. Its not a matter of adding thingstion required to analyze the adaptation process (generation up. In these cases, we have to consider what the net balance isof variations, their selection and propagation throughout the between multiple levels of selection. (Murmann et ai., 2003:firm). It also complements ecology by proposing a study of 26, emphasis in original)the relationship between the strategy and the technologicalenvironment in order to steer the variations generation pro- The proposed model encompasses the idea of evolutionarycess. On the other hand, ecology gathers firms with the same economics for generating strategies based on prior knowledgeorganizational form into populations, allowing the study and of the environment and the activities of the firm, striving togeneralization of the influence of the logics of environmental steer the generation process of variations to be attempted inselection on these corporate clusters. Along these lines, the organizational routines, skills, and competences. The modelview of ecology extends beyond sectoral boundaries, encom- supports three strategic levels: the business unit levei, whichpassing intermediate analytical levels, such as that of the involves the quest for comparative advantages through lowercommunities of firms. Moreover, the selection system of the costs or innovation (Porter, 1980); the corporate level, whichenvironment in ecology includes factors that complement involves the definition of product and market segments, busi-evolutionary economics. nesses or industrial sectors in which the firm operates (Rumelt, The proposed model is set forth in Figure 3, overlapping and 1974); and the collective level, which refers to initiatives basedentwining the approaches adopted by evolutionary economics on strategic cooperative partnerships (Astley & Fombrun,and ecology in an effort at synthesis. The selection system of 1983). At the business unit level, the model allows studies of
  11. 11. Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrativethe relationship between the multitiered environmental selec- called "rational" by Campbell (1974), through which a dulytive system and variations in processes throughout the firms talented and educated group generates the possible action al-value chain. At the corporate and collective levels, the model ternatives for responding to unknown environmental stimuli,favors the comparative characterization of the population and preselecting the best options based on their "beliefs aboutcommunity dynamics of the firms involved with the sectors, the linkage between the choice of actions and the subsequentbusinesses, and segments potentially considered for choice. For impact of those actions on outcomes" (Gavetti & Levinthal,these two latter levels, it opens up the possibility for drawing 2000: 113). This process of generating and selecting alterna-up and generalizing specific strategies for firms in the same tive actions, also called the "offline" search by Lippman andpopulation or community. The model also stresses the possibil- McCall (1976), limits the choice of variations to the simplifiedity of normative and descriptive studies of these aspects. mental model of the environment developed by the decision The proposed model also assumes that the process of select- makers based on earlier experiences built up during the his-ing variations in organizational routines and competences spurs tory of the firm (Argyris & Schon, 1978; Gavetti & Levinthal,the evolution of the firm, when it is inductive, implemented 2000; Simon, 1991; Thagard, 1996). In order to ensure thethrough learning processes based on trial and error (Campbell, possibility of effective invention, the firm should consider the1974; Nelson & Winter, 1982). We believe in low inventive alternative actions generated by the "offline" process as part ofcapacities from the prescient problem-solving standpoint, its portfolio of "tentative" alternative actions, trying out and
  12. 12. 98 Management Researchcomparing them, in terms of their effects on the alignment organizational routines, skills, and competences). In general,between the organization and its environment. It must assess the model offers three main contributions from the standpointtruly new alternatives through experimentation. Lippman of future research into strategic management.and McCall (1976) called this process the "online" search The first contribution is that the resulting model adopts amechanism. Consequently, the evolution of the firm requires multitier environmental selection standpoint that implies themultiple tentative experiments sounding out alternative ac- planning and implementation of strategies in a dynamic andtions, of which it will select only a few. Firms must view the Interactive manner, taking the context of the firm into accountfailure as part of the evolution process and must weigh the as well as the context of the population and the communitiesopportunity cost of not using the current options against the in which the organization functions. The failure or success ofpayback on real inventions. Campbell (1981) referred to this the firm is related to its interaction with its environment, in aissue as the "experimentation society." In order to make his idea feedback process among the routines of the firm, the environ-quite clear, he began to use the phrase "blind variation," which mental selection factors, and the community and populationresulted in his model becoming known as the blind variation dynamics. Taking an example involving the population-and selective retention (BVSR) model. It is worth stressing that community dynamic, for a century, from the second half of theblind variations are not necessarily random. Previous selected eighteenth century to the second half of the nineteenth century,variations and institutional processes (throughout the history the population of companies harvesting ice in the Boston re-of the firm) may predispose the organization to participate in gion dominated ice supplies in the United States (Utterback,certain experiments or block the chance of others. In other 1994: 145—166). However, the demand for steady supplies atwords, variations are not necessarily equiprobable and statisti- lower prices from the populations of breweries, meat packers,cally independent (Campbell, 1974). and hospitais, among others in the southern United States created market niches that could tolerate high prices, leverag- CO CLUSIO S ing the rapid spread of a new population of machine-made ice companies throughout the South, later replaced by electrome-The purpose of this paper is to identify complementarities chanical refrigeration facilities. In just a few years, this thrivingbetween the population ecology and evolutionary econom- natural ice industry disappeared. The outcomes at the levei ofics approaches that could contribute to the synthesis of the the community were favorable, responding to demands fromrelationship between the organization and the environment consumer populations, notwithstanding the complete disap-and its implications for a research model in strategic manage- pearance of an entire population of companies.ment. This study was guided by metatriangulation—that is, The new model allows the development of descriptivethe multiparadigmatic theory-building investigation method and normative studies of the relationship among the com-proposed by Lewis and Grimes (1999). We believe that the aim ponents of the proposed multitier environmental selectionof the work was accomplished. The outcome is an integrative system and the formulation and implementation processes ofmodel for these two evolutionary theoretical approaches. the enterprise strategies at the business unit, corporate, and The resulting model intends to be broader ranging and more cooperative leveis.complete in its analytical and explicatory capacities than the The second contribution is that the proposed conceptualevolutionary economics and ecology models individually. On framework may be beneficial for studies of interorganizationalone hand, the ecology model does not offer grounds underpin- learning—that is, processes by which "one organization causesning the studies of organizational adaptation due to the lack a change in the capacities of another, either through experienceof attention paid to the adaptation processes of the firms. On sharing, or by somehow stimulating innovation" (Ingram,the other hand, although the evolutionary economics model 2005: 642). For example, the proposed model supports thepresents the grounds for the study of organizational adaptation, study of the relationship between the population growth (orit focuses only on the technological factor in the environmental failure) rates and the dissemination of certain routines amongselection process. The new model extends its predecessors by the population firms. Taking the example of the pharmaceuti-grouping the conditioning factors for environmental selection cal industry in the United States, in the 1980s, the adoptionproposed by ecology (demographic processes, environmental of new productive routines based on DNA synthesizing anddynamism, population density, institutional processes not sequencing and cell fusion methodologies for producing hy-linked to technological innovation, and interpopulation bridomas led the population of pharmaceutical labs to developdynamics) and evolutionary economics (technological para- collaborative partnerships with small biotechnology firmsdigm and regime; national, regional, and sectoral innovation dedicated to human therapeutics and diagnostics (Powell,system) in order to study and analyze the adaptation of the White, Koput, & Owen-Smith, 2005). Ecology and evolution-firms (generation, selection, and propagation of variations in ary economics do not have the conceptual foundations required
  13. 13. Population Ecology and Evolutionary Economics: Toward an Integrative Model 99for studying the relationship between the dissemination of above on the population of harvested ice companies in Unitedthese new routines in the population of pharmaceutical labs States, in which the dynamics of the community resulted inand the population growth (or failure) rates when examined the disappearance of this once prosperous industry (Utterback,separately. The ecology does not support the study of the dis- 1994: 145-166).semination of the new routines and competences throughout In the model presented in this paper, the strategic referencepopulations, and evolutionary economics does not support the focuses on the multitiered selection system (firm—population—population of pharmaceutical labs as unit of analysis. community)—that is, the constraints of the precedent models The third contribution of the model is that it has the ad- are supplanted.vantage of responding to the criticism of strategy theories in Finally, we believe that this study establishes a conceptualterms of their inability to generalize. Approaches based on framework that may serve as the basis for future research proj-aggregate analyses at the industrial structure level as well as ects in strategic management. Aspects that may be researchedthe resource-based view of the firm approach in the future that are not supported by ecology and evolution- ary economics models individually include take a single firm as a strategic referent, treating strategic analysis as something done uniquely by that firm. [However,] if 1. Is there a difference in the survival rates of firms adopting the application of scientific methods is more than just pretense, a specific routine compared with other firms in a given there would seem to be something fundamentally wrong with population? viewing the strategic problem as one of understanding what 2. Does the adoption of new routines ratchet up the mortal - is unique about a particular firm and its situation. (Freeman, 1995: 219—220, emphasis in original) ity rate for companies in terms of the population? 3. What is the influence of demographic factors (associated to age and size) in the process of changing routines and Regarding the enunciation of strategies, the ecology model competences for firms in a single population?is descriptive and limited to generalizing strategies for deal- 4. Do interpopulation relationships of symbiosis or com-ing with environmental dynamism (specialist strategy versus petition influence the generation of variations throughgeneralist strategy). The model neglects the other factors imitations among firms in the symbiotic or rivalconditioning environmental selection, as well as the levei of populations?analysis of the community—that is, the limited attention 5. Might demographic processes (associated with age andpaid to the adaptation process of the firm and its direction size) influence the propagation of new routines in a singleby strategies. population? In turn, the evolutionary economics model enunciates 6. Does an increase in population density (cognitive legiti-and generalizes strategies based on the technological factors macy) persuade the firms in a population to make use ofconditioning the selection environment, in a normative man- common routines and competences?ner, using the industrial sector as the unit of analysis. There 7. Is there any relation between the growth rate (or shrink-are three constraints in this model. The first is the concept age) of imitators and environmental dynamism?of the industrial sector which is limited for dealing with 8. Do the generalist and specialist strategies adopted bythe environmental dynamics because it may include several firms in response to environmental dynamism influencepopulations. This is the case of industrial sectors related to the search routines?the segments of capital and intermediate assets that groupdifferent activities in terms of target markets, coordinatingstructures, production processes, and technological contents NOTESconfiguring different populations. Taking the example of theindustry of Food Product Machinery Manufacturing (NAIC 1. The technological environment may be characterized by[North American Industry Classification} 333294), it groups high opportunity conditions in the initial industrial develop-machines ranging from orange juice extraction, meat and ment stages. Low opportunity conditions may be related to thepoultry processing, and chewing gum fabrication through to final industrial development stage. Moreover, opportunities varybrewing and ice cream production, among others. The second among industries and technologies.is its focus on only the technological-conditioning factors of 2. Cumulativeness may be analyzed at three leveis: individual and technological, which is related to the specific characteristicsthe selection environment, neglecting other selection factors. of technologies and the cognitive nature of learning processes;The third is that the model does not take into consideration the organizational, which is related to the organization of varioussymbiotic and competitive relationships among populations learning activities, such as the existence of R&D laboratories;located in different industries. The importance of considering and the firm, which is related to the quantity of resources requiredthe community level is perceived in the example presented for innovation.
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