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Adaptation is a concept borrowed from biological sciences and applied to firm behavior and learning. This perspective, found primarily in evolutionary economics and organizational learning theory, states that firms can adjust so as to become better suited for survival to changing environments. As change occurs constantly in the economy, some kind of evolutionary process must be in effect, and there has been a proposal that this process is Darwinian in nature. Both perspectives treat firms, including new ventures, as biological organisms that actively adapt to their environments.

Evolutionary economics emerged in the early 1980s with the publication of An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, a seminal work by Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter. It builds on earlier work from the 1940s and 1950s by distinguished economists ...

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