The Tangled Nature Model for organizational ecology

  • Rudy Arthur
  • Arwen Nicholson
  • Paolo Sibani
  • Michael Christensen
Manuscript

Abstract

The Tangled Nature Model—a biologically inspired model of evolutionary ecology—is described, simulated, and analyzed to show its applicability in organization science and organizational ecology. It serves as a conceptual framework for understanding the dynamics in populations of organizations. A salient dynamical feature of this model is the spontaneous generation of a symbiotic group of core organizations. This core, consisting of several dominating species, introduces a mesoscopic level between that of the individual and the whole system. Despite prolonged periods of stability, this core is disrupted at random by parasitic interactions causing sudden core rearrangements. The size distribution of the core organizations is log-normal as predicted by theory and supported by empirical findings. As a simple application of the model, we study the adaptation of organizations to changes in resource availability in terms of population size, population diversity, and ecological efficiency. We find evidence that a temporary reduction in resources forces a consolidation resulting in a sustained increase in overall efficiency, suggesting that such reductions can be applied strategically to drive incremental improvements.

Keywords

Organizational ecology Co-evolution Multi-level modeling Organizational adaptation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudy Arthur
    • 1
  • Arwen Nicholson
    • 2
  • Paolo Sibani
    • 2
  • Michael Christensen
    • 3
  1. 1.CP3-Origins and the Danish Institute for Advanced StudyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Chemistry and PharmacyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  3. 3.Strategic Organization Design, Department of Marketing and ManagementUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark

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