Population Ecology

2597 Words Aug 21st, 2006 11 Pages

" The growth of a large business is merely the survival of the fittest : it is merely the working out of a law of nature" John D Rockefeller

Population ecology is a perspective that seeks to explain the factors that affect the life cycles of organizations. It also suggests why some organizations survive for longer than the others. Earlier theories such a the such as the strategic choice theory argued that organizations try to adapt to changing environments and the ones that do it successfully survive. The population ecology perspective states that it is the environment that selects organizations that will survive over time and organizations have no say in this matter.
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The concept of species identification is one of the central problems in this complex model.

c> Niche Width Theory One of the strong points of the population ecology perspective is that it analyzes populations of organizations rather than individual organizations. All organizations within a particular population tend to draw from the same resource pool. Hence competition must exist within the same population when they fight for survival. This is the basis for the niche width theory. Simply put, a niche may be defined as a domain of unique environmental resources to support an organization. Populations of organizations are said to occupy the same niche to the extent that they depend on identical environmental resources. Based on the width of the niche, there may be two types of populations that exist: specialists and generalists.
Generalists tend to have a wide niche (in other words, a broad range of products/markets). They thus maximize exploration although they increase their risks at the same time. This kind of strategy is not suited to any single situation. Specialists have a narrow niche (or a narrow range of products/markets). They thus maximize exploitation and security. This kind of strategy is suited to particular situations.

According to the perspective, depending upon the ‘distance' between two states in the environment, variations may be divided into fine-grained (short-term
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