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The Firm as a Darwin Machine: Organizational Learning as an Evolutionary Process

Jan-Willem Stoelhorst
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ard Huizing
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Abstract
This paper examines the foundations of organizational capabilities by considering such capabilities as the result of organizational learning. The paper provides a rigorous treatment of organizational learning as an evolutionary process on the basis of the notion of ‘generalized Darwinism’ and its application to knowledge. This results in an explanatory framework that is subsequently applied to the work of Nelson and Winter, Penrose and Burgelman. The paper argues that organizational learning needs to be understood as an evolutionary process, and that on such understanding organizational capabilities have to be distinguished from the knowledge that underwrites them. This knowledge not only resides in the members of the organization, but also in collective organizational characteristics that are not reducible to individuals as such.

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Reference:Stoelhorst, J.W., Huizing, A. (2005). "The Firm as a Darwin Machine: Organizational Learning as an Evolutionary Process," University of Amsterdam, Netherlands . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 5(3). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/5-3
Keywords:organizational learning, evolutionary process, Darwin
Item Type:Article - Volume 5 Article 3 (2005)
Language:English
Email: Jan-Willem Stoelhorst (j.w.stoelhorst@uva.nl)
Ard Huizing (a.huizing@uva.nl)
Related Link(s):http://primavera.feb.uva.nl/scripts/abstract.php?id=207

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