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The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior$
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Stephen M. Colarelli and Richard D. Arvey

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226127156

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226127293.001.0001

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Evolution and Cooperation:

Evolution and Cooperation:

Implications for Organizational Behavior and Management Theory

(p.269) Eleven Evolution and Cooperation
The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior

Roderick E. White

Barbara Decker Pierce

University of Chicago Press

Biological organisms and human organizations are both multi-level cooperative systems subject to the process of natural selection. We explain how Darwin's profound insight – descent with modification – can be and is being extended beyond the purely biological through contemporary theoretical advances in the areas of social cognition and learning to explain behavior in groups, organizations and societies. We argue that genes and culture have interacted over the millennia of human history to forge within our species a cooperative instinct along with the mechanisms needed to sustain cooperation in large social groups such as organizations. The implications of this argument are developed and discussed as they relate to three organizational phenomena; decision making, management control, and leadership. In conclusion we encourage management scholars to further explore how this perspective can be used to develop new insights and understanding to advance the field of organizational behavior and management theory.

Keywords:   evolutionary theory, multi-level selection theory, cooperation, decision making, management control, leadership

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