Darwin, Selection and Social Fitness: Two Studies | Weatherhead

Darwin, Selection and Social Fitness: Two Studies

As part of Case Western Reserve University's year-long celebration of Charles Darwin's life, work, and evolutionary theory, Hayagreeva Rao, Ph.D. '89, Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business will discuss how technological innovation and social movement are motors of variation that transform industries.

Darwin, Selection and Social Fitness: Two Studies


Darwin suggested that selection determines the survival of variations, and suggested that in the social world, standards of excellence enforced by public opinion was an essential driver of selection. I focus on how such 'social fitness' underlies the fates of individuals and firms and will present two studies: one historical and the other contemporary. One study looks at social fitness of individuals and analyzes the effect of the moral panic about Communism in post-war Hollywood on the fates of artists. A second study turns to the social fitness of firms and asks when do protests arise against Wal-Mart's efforts to open new stores, and when do such protests succeed.


Professor Rao has published widely in the fields of management and sociology and studies the social and cultural causes of organizational change. In his research, he studies three sub-processes of organizational change: a) creation of new social structures, b) the transformation of existing social structures, and c) the dissolution of existing social structures. His recent work investigates the role of social movements as motors of organizational change in professional and organizational fields.

His research has been published in journals such as the Administrative Science Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science and Strategic Management Journal. He is also the author of "Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovation", Princeton University Press. 2008. He serves as the Editor of Administrative Science Quarterly, and has been a member of the editorial boards of American Journal of Sociology and Organization Science and Academy of Management Review. He has been a Member of the Organizational Innovation and Change Panel of the National Science Foundation. He is a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science and of the Sociological Research Association. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Management.

Among the awards he has received are the Sidney Levy Teaching Award from the Kellogg School of Management, and the W. Richard Scott Distinguished Award for Scholarship from the American Sociological Association.This presentation is part of Case Western Reserve University's Year of Darwin celebration. For more information visit http://www.case.edu/darwin/events/

Fee: No

Contact Information:
Colleen Gepperth

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
George S. Dively Building
11240 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106-7166
United States
Speaker(s): Hayagreeva Rao, Ph.D. '89, WSOM
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