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Evolution on a Dancing Landscape: Organizations and Networks in Dynamic Blau Space

J. Miller McPherson and James R. Ranger-Moore
Social Forces
Vol. 70, No. 1 (Sep., 1991), pp. 19-42
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580060
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580060
Page Count: 24
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Evolution on a Dancing Landscape: Organizations and Networks in Dynamic Blau Space
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Abstract

This article develops and tests an evolutionary model of the growth, decline, and demographic dynamics of voluntary organizations. The model demonstrates a strong analogy between the adaptive landscape of Sewall Wright (1931) and the exploitation surfaces generated by a model of member selection and retention for voluntary associations. The article connects the processes of membership recruitment and loss to the social networks connecting individuals. The model generates dynamic hypotheses about the time path of organizations in sociodemographic dimensions. A key idea in this model is that membership selection processes at the individual level produce adaptation in communities of organizations. The article concludes with an empirical example and some discussion of the implications of the model for a variety of research literatures.

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