Evolutionary awareness: Darwin among the organizational sciences

Duening, T, Nicholson, N and Bradley-Geist, J (2019) Evolutionary awareness: Darwin among the organizational sciences. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, 22 (4). pp. 297-312. ISSN 1093-4537


The purpose of this paper is to propose that organizational scientists can address this problem by embracing “evolutionary awareness” (EA). EA builds on theories and constructs developed in the evolutionary sciences that serve to add depth to theory building. Design/methodology/approach: The design of the paper is first to introduce the concept of EA and identify its four key constructs. Next, the authors apply EA to three areas of research within organizational science: human motivation, interpersonal communication and leadership. The authors’ intent is to show that EA constructs extend and deepen traditional organizational science theorizing. Thereby, the authors show that the problems noted above, i.e., lack of depth and maturing theories, can be addressed by embracing EA. Findings: The findings are that EA substantially enhances and freshens theorizing in the organizational sciences in the areas of human motivation, communication and leadership. By extension, other areas of interest will also benefit by embracing the EA perspective. Research limitations/implications: The implications of the research are many. Organizational scientists can advance theory building, research and practical prescriptions by embracing EA. They can also engage in interdisciplinary research programs with scholars in the evolutionary sciences eager to see their work having practical implications. The limitation of this work is that the authors were only able to show a limited application of EA to three areas of interest to organizational science scholars. Practical implications: The practical implications of this research are potentially far reaching. At this very moment, scholars in a wide array of disciplines are re-casting their views of humanity, cognition, values and other constructs based on the acceptance of evolution and its primary mechanism, variation and selection based on consequences. These changes will usher in new ideas about leadership, work-life balance, organizational purpose and many others. Social implications: A much-needed “consilience” across the human sciences through embracement of the EA perspective may provide insights that will advance human flourishing in organizations and beyond. The authors believe that an increasingly veridical understanding of humanity will produce substantial social impact. Originality/value: This work will provide an encompassing perspective that will assist organizational scholars in advancing their theory building and research questions. A much-needed “consilience” across the human sciences may provide insights that will advance human flourishing in organizations and beyond.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2019 Emerald Publishing

Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2020 11:49
Subjects: Leadership
Last Modified: 24 May 2024 01:29
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/1274

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