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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

Corporate strategy: from core competence to complexity--an evolutionary review

Philip Fellman
Southern New Hampshire University

Matthew Dadmun
Southern New Hampshire University

Neil Lanteigne
Southern New Hampshire University

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     Last modified: June 15, 2006

In this paper we review the disciplinary history of corporate strategy and trace its evolution from a primarily linear, path dependent analytical approach to corporate problem solving, through its first “scientific” restructuring as a discipline more concerned with relational properties and clusters to its present state, employing sophisticated computational and mathematical models. In reviewing the growing role and contributions of complexity science to the field we focus on three particularly notable applications of Stuart Kauffman’s NK-Boolean fitness landscape model. We first review Bill McKelvey’s use of statistical mechanics in adapting the NK-Boolean fitness landscape to leading strategist Michael Porter’s value chain in his seminal work “Avoiding Complexity Catastrophe in Coevolutionary Pockets: Strategies for Rugged Landscapes”. We then explore practical applications of the NK model as developed by Michael Lissack, with an emphasis on patches and simulated annealing. We conclude with a review of formal implications of the NK model for the theory of competitive strategy following the simulation model and decision-matrix approach developed by Ghemawat and Levinthal.

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