ORGANIZATION-ENVIRONMENT RELATIONS: THE POPULATION ECOLOGY
In general, the ecological perspective is a theory of organizations which can best be understood as a specific theoretical model that can be classified in one of the four basic fields of organizational science. According to Vecchio (1991), these four fields can be distinguished based on their level of analysis and their primary orientation using the following graphic depiction:
Level of Analysis
Primary Orientation Micro Macro
Conceptual Organizational Behavior Organizational Theory
Application Human Resources Organizational Development
As can be seen from the above graph, organizational theory is a macro approach to the organizational sciences which is to say that it attempts to develop theoretical or conceptual models of organization that apply to widely diverse kinds of firms. The basic focus of an organizational theory, Vecchio (1991) reports, is upon organizational attributes, e.g., organizational goals, technology, culture, climate, and so froth.
The purpose of this report is to define, describe, and examine the theory of the population ecology of organizations as well as to review the empirical research based on the theory. To this end, the presented review delineates the theory of population ecology and discusses its relationship to other more traditional organizational theories. This discussion includes the strengths and weaknesses of the perspective. Further, examples of its application to diverse organizations and companies are provided.
Population Ecology: Theoretical Foundations
The population ecology of organizations explores the effects of social and historical transformations on the world of organizations as well as the role of organizational population dynamics in shaping social change. This approach departs from mainstream theory by shifting focus from the organization to...