TitleThe coevolution of new organizational forms
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsCarroll, T, Long, CP, Lewin, AY
JournalOrganization Science
Date Published1999

This paper outlines an alternative theory of organization-environment coevolution that generalizes a model of organization adaptation first proposed by March (1991), linking firm-level exploration and exploitation adaptations to changes in the population of organizations. The theory considers organizations, their populations, and their environments as the interdependent outcome of managerial actions, institutional influences, and extra-institutional changes (technological, sociopolitical, and other environmental phenomena). In particular, the theory incorporates potential differences and equifinal outcomes related to country-specific variation. The basic theses of this paper are that firm strategic and organization adaptations coevolve with changes in the environment (competitive dynamics, technological, and institutional) and organization population and forms, and that new organizational forms can mutate and emerge from the existing population of organizations. The theory has guided a multicountry research collaboration on strategic and organization adaptations and the mutation and emergence of new organizational forms from within the existing population of organizations.