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How do organizations evolve? Bus 374 Dr. Rajiv Krishnan Kozhikode.

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Presentation on theme: "How do organizations evolve? Bus 374 Dr. Rajiv Krishnan Kozhikode."— Presentation transcript:

1 How do organizations evolve? Bus 374 Dr. Rajiv Krishnan Kozhikode

2 Structural Inertia and Organizational Change Revisiting Hannan & Freeman’s (1977) arguments on inertia. Inertia as an outcome of selection not a pre-condition for selection But, selection actually favors the inert organizations.

3 A recap of the two dominant views on organizational change Selection: – Variability is a result of new organizations and organizational forms replacing old ones Adaptation: – Variability is a result of strategic adaptation by individual organizations in response to changes in the environment

4 How does biotic evolution view this problem? Change/innovation is a random process (e.g., through mutation and recombination) If an innovation by any chance increases life chances, it will be retained and it tends to be widely adopted. But managers have been known to constantly strive to innovate So is organizational change not as random as biotic change?

5 Loose coupling between managerial intentions and organizational change According to March and colleagues’ random transformation theory, organizations change occurs as an endogenous process and it is decoupled from managerial intent and environmental demands. i.e., organizations have their own lives Organizations might change, but neither in perfect alignment with the environment, nor in line with managerial motives

6 Timing of change Instead of asking do organizations change, ask when do they change. Adaptation makes sense only if it is delivered on time Else, organizations might be constantly striving to change, only to find that every new configuration is outdated.

7 Three important considerations Temporal pattern of change in the environment Speed of the learning mechanism Speed of applying learning to change efforts Thus, inertia is not simply inability to change, but inability to change at the rate suitable to the environment. Consider IBM’s foray into PC business, or Sony’s foray into portable digital music players

8 Some important selection expectations from organizations Reliability – Lesser variance in performance is valued – Both cross-section and temporal reliability prevails i.e., actions of organizations from same industry resemble one another than they do with organizations of a different type An organization’s action in period one resemble its action in another period Accountability – Accountable organizations are valued – Organizations need to stand by their actions Reproducibility – Reliability and Accountability requires reproducibility

9 How is it related to inertia and survival? Reproducibility generates structural inertia Hence, selection favors inert organizations Reorganization attempts reduces reproducibility Reorganization attempts increases death rate The longer the length of the reorganization attempt, the lesser the survival chance

10 Age, Size and inertia Reproducibility increases with age So, inertia increases with age Interestingly, death rate decreases with age (i.e., liability of newness) Inertia also increases with size Bigger organizations survive longer

11 Bill Barnett’s Red Queen Competition

12 Inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the looking glass” Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else – if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.” “A slow sort of country!” said the Red Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

13 Competitive experience, adaptation and survival Cost of search are high than the benefits, so generally organizations do not search. Red-queen competition will force organizations to adopt in an incremental manner… not necessarily through managerial action Red queen competitors co-evolve But over time, competency traps might develop – If competition was in the distant past, organizations that survived that competition might get cocky and wont search. – But, if competition is more recent, they might have to search to stay ahead So Red Queen can be maladaptive

14 Results from Chicago Banking Industry Banks with more competitive experiences recently were less likely to fail Banks with more competitive experiences in the distant past were more likely to fail Banks competing with other banks with more recent competitive experiences tend to fail Banks with greater variance in duration of competitive activity tend to fail

15 That’s it for this week For next week, we will look at how organizations interact with one another


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