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Sarah Love
Sarah Love

Philosophical Foundations Of Evolutionary Psychology Mobi Download Book

This article provides an introduction to evolutionary psychology and its relevance to organizational design theory and practice. Evolutionary psychology assumes that human nature reflect adaptations to an ancestral environment that was intensely social, but differed profoundly from modern organizations in scale and complexity. Further, organizational structures and cultures co-evolved with human nature to deal with the different environmental challenges early humans faced. In this article, I present a concise review of the theoretical foundations of evolutionary psychology and convey how evolutionary psychology hypotheses about organizational design, culture, and leadership in organizations can be developed and tested. I also provide some directions for future research in this area and discuss implications for designing organizations that are perhaps better aligned with human nature than current structures.

Philosophical Foundations of Evolutionary Psychology mobi download book

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This article serves as a primer on evolutionary psychology for scholars in organization design and culture). In the following sections, I provide a brief history of evolutionary psychology and why it is relevant to study organizations. I then discuss the key assumptions of evolutionary psychology and some of its key theories and constructs as they are relevant to organizations. Building on this foundation, I will then illustrate how evolutionary psychology can be used as a heuristic framework for developing hypotheses and designing empirical research programs. I conclude by outlining some implications for organizational design and offer directions for future research. Organizational scholars have used evolutionary models before, for instance, to explain how firms adapt successfully to changing environments (Dekkers, 2005). Evolutionary psychology goes one step further by assuming that organizational structures are manifestations of a deeper psychology that was selected for by evolution as it enabled humans to respond adaptively to different environmental challenges. My approach in this primer is to shed light on how evolution via natural selection might have shaped the psychological foundations of organizational actors, thereby influencing aspects of organizational design and culture.

In this section, while keeping in mind the theoretical and methodological foundations laid out above, we turn to a more practical question: how to design and implement research projects in organizations, using evolutionary psychology hypotheses (for a summary, see Table 1).

Martin Heinze holds the position of a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Center for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Bremen, Germany. He is on the executive boards of the Berlin-based Gesellschaft für Philosophie und Wissenschaften der Psyche and of the section for philosophical foundations of psychiatry and psychotherapy of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Nervenheilkunde. In his main field of research, philosophy of psychiatry, he edited numerous books, e.g. Das Mass des Leidens, Würzburg 2003. He can be contacted via e-mail at:

Around 1875 the Harvard physiology instructor (as he then was), William James, opened a small experimental psychology demonstration laboratory for use with his courses. The laboratory was never used, at that time, for original research, and so controversy remains as to whether it is to be regarded as the "first" experimental psychology laboratory or not. In 1878, James gave a series of lectures at Johns Hopkins University entitled "The Senses and the Brain and their Relation to Thought" in which he argued, contra Thomas Henry Huxley, that consciousness is not epiphenomenal, but must have an evolutionary function, or it would not have been naturally selected in humans. The same year James was contracted by Henry Holt to write a textbook on the "new" experimental psychology. If he had written it quickly, it would have been the first English-language textbook on the topic. It was twelve years, however, before his two-volume The Principles of Psychology would be published. In the meantime textbooks were published by George Trumbull Ladd of Yale (1887) and James Mark Baldwin then of Lake Forest College (1889).

In 1890, William James' The Principles of Psychology finally appeared, and rapidly became the most influential textbook in the history of American psychology. It laid many of the foundations for the sorts of questions that American psychologists would focus on for years to come. The book's chapters on consciousness, emotion, and habit were particularly agenda-setting.


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