This View of Life helps to demonstrate the value of an evolutionary perspective for many areas of society, including healthcare, sustainability, and education. Surprisingly, a domain that has yet to embrace evolutionary thinking is that of business and management.

True, metaphors and phrases such as “survival of the fittest”, “creative destruction”, and “firm selection” have been tossed  around for decades, suggesting that evolutionary forces are at work in the business world. However, these analogies don’t even begin to appreciate the complexity of business social environments or the forces of genetic and cultural evolution that shape the behaviors of all people, in and out of the workplace. Rethinking business and management from an evolutionary perspective can have profound implications at all scales, from the wellbeing of individual employees, to the performance of firms, to the creation of a sustainable global economy.

To catalyze this process, we are initiating a series of articles and interviews titled: “This View of Business: How Evolutionary Thinking Can Transform the Workplace”. To inaugurate the series, we posed the following question to a number of evolutionary thought leaders: “What is the single greatest insight that an evolutionary perspective offers to business?” Their answers give a taste of what will be explored in greater detail in the rest of the series.

We hope that this effort will go a long way toward catalyzing reforms in business education and management development. We believe that evolutionary approaches should have a prominent role in the curriculum of Business Schools as well as in allied fields such as in Management and Organizational Sciences. Likewise, we think evolutionary insights will be valuable to business leaders and other professionals, providing a toolkit for navigating the world of business.

We end with a note on the status of women in the business and management professions. We made a strong effort to include female commentators in our inaugural article but failed: First, because women are sadly in the minority among those who are thinking about business from an evolutionary perspective; and second, because those we asked were too busy—perhaps fulfilling other requests similar to ours! Luckily, in our case we will be able to correct the imbalance in future articles and interviews in the series and to address gender issues in the workplace from an evolutionary perspective.

To get your free copy of “This View of Business” [click here]! 

Mark van Vugt

Mark van Vugt

Mark van Vugt is Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands and a Research Associate at the  University of Oxford, England. He studies and teaches about group and organizational behavior from an evolutionary psychology perspective. His main research themes include leadership, hierarchy, altruism, cooperation, and intergroup relations and he is the co-director of the Amsterdam Leadership Lab. Mark also has a keen interest in applications of evolutionary perspectives to such topics as management, governance, economics, sustainability, philanthropy, war and peace. He has published more than 150 articles in prestigious journals such as Nature, Current Biology, Proceedings of the Royal Society-B, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP), Psychological Science, and the American Psychologist, Academy of Management Review.  He is a former Associate Editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and is currently serving at the Leadership Quarterly. He has authored and co-authored various books including “Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership and, recently, Mismatch. Mark van Vugt has received research grants from national and international funding agencies including the European Union, the British Academy, NWO, from government and industry. He is a newspaper columnist and a blogger for Psychology Today on topics related to human behavior in the work place.

www.professormarkvanvugt.com
Twitter: @markvanvugt1

 

David Sloan Wilson

David Sloan Wilson

David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life, both in his own research and as director of EvoS, a unique campus-wide evolutionary studies program that recently received NSF funding to expand into a nationwide consortium. His books include Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives, and The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time and Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others. .

Max Beilby

Max Beilby

Max Beilby is a Management and Organizational Psychologist and author of the Darwinian Business blog.

Follow Max on Twitter: @MaxBeilby

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