An analytical report on the article “The Population Ecology of Organizations” by Michael T. Hannan and John Freeman
a. What is the paper about? What are the goals of the paper? What is highlighted and which question is addressed?
This paper looks for the answer of the question why are there so many kinds of organizations? Whether or not organizations consciously try to adapt their environment to survive, their environment elect the ideal organizations.
b. What is the main concept with which the paper concerns?
According to environmental selection, more efficient, reliable and accountable organizations are elected as survivors. High degree of inertia and resistance to change, effect reliability, accountability and efficiency of organizations in a bad way to survive in environment. The main estimation of the population ecology is that election of survivors by this theory is devastating and it enable disappearing of organizations which can not survive.
c. What is the dependent and independent variables (if empirical)?
It is empirical.
Independent variables are organizations’ being more efficient, reliable and accountable; internal or external pressure on organizations; changing environments such as market, industry; fitness of organizations.
Dependent variables are the possibility of survival and mortality of organizations.
d. What is the level of analysis (macro, micro, group, individual etc.). What method was used?
The authors make macro level analysis of organizations in markets and in industries. There are utilized insights from biology, economics and sociology. In the paper, competition theory and niche theory are used. Furthermore, control function, Blau’s theory are mentioned in the paper. In addition to these, there are some figures to illustrate results of niche theory.
e. What is the gap/problem in OT that author intends to fill or answer?
In the paper, there is explanation of mean of diversity according to the adaptation strategy. Organization form diversity are different in different market or industry and in different time. Explanation of diversity of organizations forms are related from survival of organizations in their environment. There is a competition between organizations in market niche. In addition to this, organizations rely on critical resources to survive. Furthermore, control of critical resources by competitors creates resources dependencies and power asymmetries.
However, according to the environmental selection strategy, there are number of internal and external pressure generating structural inertia which high degree of it effecting survivals of organizations negatively.
Internal pressures which are:
· An organization’s investments in plant, equipment and specialized personnel
· Incomplete information given to organizational decision makers about activities within the organization and environment contingencies
· Internal political constraints like transformation within the organization and resistance to relocation of resources
· Constraints are generated by their own normative agreements
External pressures which are:
· Legal and fiscal barriers to entry and exit from markets
· Not available information
· Legitimacy considerations
· Collective rationality problem
Adaptation strategy rarely succeeds owing to being dominant of organizational inertia. According to environmental selection strategy, when adaptation by individual organizations is limited, moving explanation up to level of organizational population is required. Individual organizations’ adaptation strategies do not explain diversity of organization forms. However, in terms of adoption to environment, environmental selection of best organizations explains diversity of form of organizations and survival. Whether or not organizations consciously try to adapt their environment to survive, their environment elect the ideal organizations.
f. What insight have you developed after reading it?
Sometimes what ever done by organization, they can not survive or adopt their environments. Environmental selection explains this situation by explaining the idea that there is nothing can be done by organizations itself, only environment itself decides which organizations can survive or die.