Major theory and research in organizational ecology are reviewed, with an emphasis on the organization and population levels of analysis and processes of organizational foundings, mortality, and change. The main approach to organizational foundings examines the roles of density dependence and population dynamics. Six approaches to studying organizational mortality are fitness set theory, liability of newness, density dependence, resource partitioning, liability of smallness, and the effects of founding conditions. Research on organizational change is just beginning to appear in the literature. The convergence between ecological and institutional research is discussed, especially the role of legitimacy in population dynamics, and the effects of institutional variables on vital rates. Some key criticisms of organizational ecology are addressed, and some suggestions for future research are proposed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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