Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 1–23 | Cite as

The evolution of IT innovations in Swedish organizations: a Darwinian critique of ‘Lamarckian’ institutional economics

  • Mikael SandbergEmail author
Regular Article


Fundamental correspondence and analogies between the evolution of technological and biological innovations call for an ‘innovation Darwinian’, ‘universal Darwinian’ or ‘memetic’ approach to understanding technology innovation. Neo-institutional, in fact pseudo-Lamarckian evolutionary economic theory, represented by North, Nelson and Winter, Freeman and others, is criticized. Pseudo-Lamarckian (“by volition”) evolution is explained and analyzed on Darwinian grounds (as intentional and artificial selection), as is Schumpeter’s definitions of creative and imitative innovation. Data from a web survey among Swedish public and private organizations in 1999 are studied. Data show that Darwinian co-evolutionary interaction between producers and users or clients provide essential conditions and stronger influence on creative IT innovations than both ‘Lamarckian’ strategies and competition.


Information technologies Meme Evolutionary economics Institutions Darwinism 

Jel Classification

B 520 O 300 O 310 O 380 O 520 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Halmstad UniversityHalmstadSweden

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