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Populations, Natural Selection, and Applied Organizational Science

Bill McKelvey and Howard Aldrich
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 28, No. 1 (Mar., 1983), pp. 101-128
DOI: 10.2307/2392389
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2392389
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Populations, Natural Selection, and Applied Organizational Science
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Abstract

This paper proposes that organizational science could be applied more widely if the field were more concerned with the conditions under which research findings are valid. Papers in the field generalize about organizations as if they were all alike, or refrain from generalizing at all, as if they were all unique. The population perspective presented de-emphasizes the all-alike and all-unique approaches, placing emphasis instead on research methods that improve the description and classification of organizational forms, define more homogeneous groupings, and specify the limited conditions under which predictions may be expected to hold true. The principles of the population perspective are reviewed, and an outline is presented for developing a classification of organizational forms. Suggestions are then made on how to use the perspective to increase and improve the application of organizational research.

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