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Strategy and ecology: a synthesis and research agenda

Yixin Hu (School of Business, University of New South Wales Canberra, Canberra, Australia)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




This article aims to synthesize the tension between agency notions inherent in strategy and deterministic notions inherent in ecology, and in doing so, develop a research agenda.


In this study, emerging themes around the strategy-ecology literature will be analyzed and synthesized from a socio-ecological perspective.


The following propositions can be synthesized. First, the socio-ecological level of analysis is useful, because from this level, strategy and ecology are mutually exclusive, enabling resource-based views of competitive advantage. Second, the order of strategy and ecology is found to be changeable, given they are mutually exclusive. Here, ecological mechanisms and relationships in the ecosystem can provide information on a strategic choice.

Research limitations/implications

These propositions contribute toward a research agenda. Nevertheless, evolutionary mechanisms will need to be more specific in addressing what is being selected.


By introducing the socio-ecological perspective as the way of synthesizing organizational strategy and ecology, new research ideas can foster.



The author would like to thank the IJOA editors and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier drafts, which assisted in the development of this article.


Hu, Y. (2017), "Strategy and ecology: a synthesis and research agenda", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 456-467.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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