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The evolution of Darwinism in business studies
Baskerville, Rachel F.
Victoria University of Wellington; now at University of Exeter
The current invocation of Darwin in accounting research is not matched to the earliest invocations of Darwinism in accounting and economics. The study has two objectives: firstly, to document the change from Darwinism meaning 'the scientific method' (as used by Veblen and Stamp) to Darwinism meaning "survival of the fittest". Secondly, to describe Lamarckism as the more correct descriptor of cultural evolution than Darwinism. Veblen and Stamp were not concerned with Lamarckian or Darwinian processes; "Darwinism" equated with a "scientific" method based on extensive observation of data and an appreciation of the merits of a qualitative approach. It is an objective of this paper to draw attention to the distinction between these two modus operandi, that the casual invocation of Darwinism rampant in research addressing issues in evolutionary economics and accounting might be lessened. Lamarckism deserves to be better recognized as providing the correct understanding of the evolutionary drivers to selective, purposive, adaptive, and deterministic evolution by our markets, institutions, or firms.