The Red Queen Among Organizations: How Competitiveness Evolves

The Red Queen Among Organizations: How Competitiveness Evolves

by William P. Barnett
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691131147

ISBN-13: 9780691131146

Pub. Date: 02/04/2008

Publisher: Princeton University Press

There's a scene in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass in which the Red Queen, having just led a chase with Alice in which neither seems to have moved from the spot where they began, explains to the perplexed girl: "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." Evolutionary biologists have used this scene to illustrate the

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Overview

There's a scene in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass in which the Red Queen, having just led a chase with Alice in which neither seems to have moved from the spot where they began, explains to the perplexed girl: "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." Evolutionary biologists have used this scene to illustrate the evolutionary arms race among competing species. William Barnett argues that a similar dynamic is at work when organizations compete, shaping how firms and industries evolve over time.

Barnett examines the effects—and unforeseen perils—of competing and winning. He takes a fascinating, in-depth look at two of the most competitive industries—computer manufacturing and commercial banking—and derives some startling conclusions. Organizations that survive competition become stronger competitors—but only in the market contexts in which they succeed. Barnett shows how managers may think their experience will help them thrive in new markets and conditions, when in fact the opposite is likely to be the case. He finds that an organization's competitiveness at any given moment hinges on the organization's historical experience. Through Red Queen competition, weaker competitors fail, or they learn and adapt. This in turn heightens the intensity of competition and further strengthens survivors in an ever-evolving dynamic. Written by a leading organizational theorist, The Red Queen among Organizations challenges the prevailing wisdom about competition, revealing it to be a force that can make—and break—even the most successful organization.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691131146
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/04/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

CHAPTER ONE: WHY ARE SOME ORGANIZATIONS MORE COMPETITIVE THAN OTHERS? 1

"Competitiveness" Varies from Organization to Organization 3

Organizations Are Intendedly Rational Adaptive Systems 4

Organizations Compete with Similar Organizations 7

What It Takes to Win Depends on a Context's Logic

of Competition 8

Organizations Learn a Context's Logic of Competition by Competing 12

CHAPTER TWO: LOGICS OF COMPETITION 14

Analyzing Logics of Competition 17

Meta-Competition among Alternative Logics 28

The Logic of Predation 34

Discovering Logics of Competition 37

Summary and Implications for the Model 43

CHAPTER THREE: THE RED QUEEN 46

How Do Organizations Respond to Competition? 47

The Red Queen as an Ecology of Learning Organizations 50

Consequences of Constraint in Red Queen Evolution 59

Killing the Red Queen through Predation 69

Argument Summary 72

CHAPTER FOUR: EMPIRICALLY MODELING THE RED QUEEN 74

Modeling "Competitiveness" as a Property of Organizations 75

The Red Queen Model 77

Modeling a Pure-Selection Process 79

Modeling Myopia 80

Modeling the Implications of Predation 82

Modeling Organizational Founding 84

Modeling Organizational Survival 85

Comparisons to Other Ecological Models of

Organizations 87

CHAPTER FIVE: RED QUEEN COMPETITION AMONG COMMERCIAL BANKS 90

The Institutional Context of Twentieth-Century

U.S. Commerical Banking 90

Logics of Competition among U.S. Banks 97

Specifying the Red Queen Model for Illinois Banks 105

Estimates of the Bank Founding Models 109

Estimates of the Bank Failure Models 119

Summary of Findings 130

CHAPTER SIX: RED QUEEN COMPETITION AMONG COMPUTER MANUFACTURERS 132

The Computer Industry and Its Markets 136

Discovering Logics of Competition among

Mainframe Computer Manufacturers 138

Discovering Logics of Competition among

Midrange Computer Manufacturers 170

Discovering Logics of Competition among

Microcomputer Manufacturers 193

Summary of Findings 213

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE RED QUEEN AND ORGANIZATIONAL NERTIA 215

The Competition-Inertia Hypothesis 218

The Red Queen and Inertia among Computer

Manufacturers 222

The Red Queen and the Rise and Fall of Organizations 224

CHAPTER EIGHT: SOME IMPLICATIONS OF RED QUEEN COMPETITION 228

Managerial Implications of the Red Queen 230

Research Implications of the Red Queen 232

APPENDIX: DATA SOURCES AND COLLECTION METHODS 237

Commercial Banks 237

Computer Manufacturers 241

Notes 245

References 259

Index 275

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