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The Institutions of the MarketOrganizations, Social Systems, and Governance$
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Alexander Ebner and Nikolaus Beck

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231423.001.0001

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Organizational Ecology as a Theory of Competition

Organizational Ecology as a Theory of Competition

(p.202) 9 Organizational Ecology as a Theory of Competition
The Institutions of the Market

Nikolaus Beck (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that organizational ecology is much more sociological and less biological than many critics of organizational ecology think. It argues that organizational ecology and its theory of competition rests heavily on the seminal work of Emile Durkheim on the division of labour, and on the thoughts of Amos Hawley on human ecology. It suggests that the expressions used by the agents of organizational ecology are ‘Darwinian’ but that the theoretical argumentation is ‘Durkheimian’. The chapter highlights the theoretical foundations of organizational ecology and emphasizes that competition — and not the biological aspects of evolution — forms the core of the organizational ecology theory. The most the most important sub-concepts of organizational ecology that deal with competition and market formation are also discussed: density dependence and resource partitioning. The first concept deals with the impact of the number of competitors on the survival and founding chances of organizations. The latter is concerned with the influence of market concentration on the vital rates of specialist and generalist organizations.

Keywords:   evolution, organizational ecology theory, market formation, density dependence, resource partitioning, Emile Durkheim, Amos Hawley

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