Coevolution as a Research Framework for Organizations and the Natural Environment
Coevolution is an established research framework in the biological and evolutionary sciences, and though a new entrant to organization studies, it holds potential to transform the field (Lewin et al., 2003). Its fundamental premise is that entities or organizations evolve in relation to their environments while at the same time these environments evolve in relation to them. This paper argues that a coevolutionary approach is particularly well suited for research on organizations and the natural environment (O&NE), and that O&NE scholars may make significant contributions to organization theory from this perspective. However, this potential depends upon developing and maintaining a clear distinction between coevolution as a verb, or broad logic (a.k.a. macro coevolution), and coevolution as a noun, or specific mechanism (a.k.a. micro coevolution). In building these arguments the paper develops a definition and research framework for coevolutionary research and discusses theoretical and practical implications for O&NE.