Willian P. Barnett and competitive evolution: a theory of Red Queen

Thiago de Luca Sant'ana Ribeiro, José Eduardo Valladares Teixeira


The book "The Red Queen among organizations: how competitiveness evolves" synthesizes and extends several works in which William P. Barnett studies competition among companies, based on the idea that organizations learn through the act of competing and, by doing so, they become stronger competitors over time. A review of this book is presented here, summarizing the theory developed by Barnett and the empirical tests that the author carried out for the validation of his main hypotheses in two industries, with partially confirmatory results. In addition to the exposition of theory and its tests, the results of a bibliometric research carried out at ISI Web of Science, which investigates the impact of Barnett's work and its influence on different lines of research aimed at competition amog companies are also presented.


Business Strategy; Strategic Management; Competition; Organizational Ecology; Organizational Learning; Organizational Evolution; Bibliometry.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5585/ijsm.v16i4.2591


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