An Evolutionary Approach to Business Strategies and the Natural Environment
Chapter 8: An Evolutionary Approach Towards the Strategic Perspectives of Firms
By analysing the strategic perspective of firms within the context of resource networks the case studies of coffee and automobiles show the complex dynamics of production and consumption systems. A major theoretical challenge is to develop propositions about these dynamics that provide a basis for future research. For this the two levels of analysis introduced in Chapters 4 and 5 need to be augmented with insights on the dynamics at the analytical level of the PCS. This analysis will be based on an evolutionary approach. This completes the theoretical framework and provides insight into the topics framed by the central questions outlined in Chapter 1: the way in which the strategic perspective of a firm is formed and maintained, its change over time, and the ways in which it is connected to dynamics in the PCS. I will start with a general description of the constitutive parts of an evolutionary approach: variation, inheritance and selection. I will then go into detail for each of these parts and specify the mechanisms that shape the strategic perspective of firms within a PCS. Specific combinations of these mechanisms constitute scenarios of system dynamics. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the coffee and automobile case studies using the evolutionary approach. GENERAL STRUCTURE OF AN EVOLUTIONARY EXPLANATION Evolutionary explanations build on the seminal work of Darwin who first proposed an evolutionary theory to explain the changing characteristics of biological organisms.1 Such characteristics are a result of their genetic material which is transmitted in the...
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