In my view, the greatest insight an evolutionary perspective offers to business professionals is the ability to connect leadership, trust and diversity management together.
We know that the evolutionary origin of trust between people relays in similarity because this creates attraction, and this attraction creates emotional comfort.
We also know that, with the acceleration of globalization, it is necessary to lead and manage a diversity of people, generations, values, ways of thinking and working, among other things, and that diversity is a source of wealth, innovation and creativity, as it allows different perspectives and responses to complex problems.
We also know that the mental models that support our choice of leaders suffer from biases inherited from our evolutionary past, which are frequently mismatched with our current environments that change faster than our brains. Lastly, we know that trust within a group or an organization is a critical economic and social asset, and when nurtured, lowers the need for control and internal transaction costs, thus increasing the responsiveness, agility and competitiveness.
Mental models that support our choice of leaders suffer from biases inherited from our evolutionary past, which are frequently mismatched with our current environments that change faster than our brains.
Therefore, in my view, the greatest insight an evolutionary perspective can offer to business professionals is the ability to connect leadership, trust and diversity management with teaching students and business professionals about our long evolutionary path and the biological economics of nature.
The main issues are:
- How can we, today, respond properly in an environment that changes faster than our brains in the field of management and business, without being betrayed by our adaptive past and usual bias responses?
- How can we face the new organizational and business pressures that require new leadership skills and profiles— and what skills and profiles are those?
- How can we defeat the leadership myth that leaders are always necessary, and leadership action must be centered on the figure of one person only, when today we need dispersed leadership skills among different talents and capacities within a group?
- What can our evolutionary past teach us about creating trust and similarity among diverse groups?
- How can leaders manage to build similarity within diverse teams and organizations?
I strongly believe that any system that knows itself and the environment in which it operates has more possibilities to survive, adapt and be effective, since it better controls its destiny
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– Finuras, P. (2015). Primatas Culturais – Evolução e Natureza humana. Lisboa: Ed. Sílabo
– Finuras, P. (2015). Why are there so many different languages in the world? Could Historical Pathogen Prevalence Predicts Human Language Diversity? The Group Immunity Hypothesis.
– Nicholson, N. (2000). Managing the human animal. New York: Thomson.
– Nicholson, N., Spisak, B. & M. Van Vugt. (2011). Leadership in Organizations: An Evolutionary Perspective. In Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences. Language Diversity? The group Immunity Hypothesis. Van – – – Vugt, M., Van Lange, P., Balliet, D. (2015). Social Dilemmas: The psychology of human cooperation. London: Oxford University Press.
– Van Vugt, Mark & Grabo, Allen E. (2015). “The Many Faces of Leadership: An Evolutionary-Psychology Approach,” Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 24(6): 484-489.