Structural Inertia and Organizational Change

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Authors: M.T. Hannan, J. Freeman

Publication Year: 1984


Journal: American Sociological Review

Volume: 49

Issue: 2

Categories: Ecology, Organizational Change, Ecology


Theory and research on organization-environment relations from a population ecology perspective have been based on the assumption that inertial pressures on structure are strong. Thispaper attempts to clarify the meaning of structural inertia and to derive propositions about structural inertia from an explicit evolutionary model. Theproposed theory treats high levels of structural inertia as a consequence of a selection process rather than as a precondition for selection. It also considers how the strength of inertial forces varies with age, size, and complexity.