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Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences Hardcover – Jul 19 2011
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From the Back Cover
All individuals who operate in the business sphere, whether as consumers, employers, employees, entrepreneurs, or financial traders to name a few constituents, share a common biological heritage and are defined by a universal human nature. As such, it is surprising that so few business scholars have incorporated biological and evolutionary-informed theories within their conceptual toolboxes. This edited book addresses this lacuna by culling chapters at the intersection of the evolutionary behavioral sciences and specific business contexts including in marketing, consumer behavior, advertising, innovation and creativity, intertemporal choice, negotiations, competition and cooperation in organizational settings, sex differences in workplace patterns, executive leadership, business ethics, store design, behavioral decision making, and electronic communication. To reword the famous aphorism of T. G. Dobzhansky, nothing in business makes sense except in the light of evolution.
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Into this void steps Gad Saad, Professor of Marketing and Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption, with a collection of twelve chapters contributed by eminent scholars from around the globe. Saad, whose apostolic zeal for applying evolutionary psychology to the business sector is evidence by a multitude of articles, TED talks, the books "The Consuming Instinct" and "The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption" and a popular blog on the Psychology Today website, brings together twenty-eight contributors representing a broad range of academic disciplines and problem sets dealt with. The high quality contributions suggest not only the unifying power evolutionary theory has in bringing together such diverse scholars, but also signals evolutionarily-based theory's ascendance as not just grand unifying theory but also as the eminently pragmatic approach to solving real-world problems faced by businesspersons across the world. Specifically, by understanding that human behavior is selected for based upon problems posed in our distant evolutionary past, and as a result, such behavior helped humans survive, reproduce, and thrive, might help us understand current behaviors that are not necessarily beneficial in the modern world. For instance, ultimate causation suggests that humans who were able to find and consume fatty, sweet, and/or salty foods were better able to survive and reproduce in ancestral environments; however, in the modern world the abundance of foods with fat, sugar, and salt, as well as the mimicry of these qualities by foods deficient in them, leads to maladaptive proximate behaviors such as obesity, and concurrent health problems.
In conclusion, the wide-ranging collection addresses a range of issues through the unified lens of evolutionary theory in a manner accessible to not just academics, but intellectually curious students of the business world. Although scholars may disagree on the specifics of evolutionary theory, this edited volume provides an integrated framework by which a broad array of business-related concerns may be fruitfully addressed, as well as provide a means by which those who wish to gain the upper hand in the applied world of business can obtain the necessary edge. In this sense, Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences is a worthy successor to Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby's "The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture," which introduced students and scholars to applications of evolutionary theory to a broad range of social issues. If this collection finds the audience it deserves, it likewise has the potential to alter a disjointed field of business sciences by providing order and growth to not just research, but also practical application of lessons learned. (Note: This review is extracted from a larger review to be published in the journal "Politics and the Life Sciences.")
Most of the papers are EP applied on organizational theory, leadership and marketing, which are not my main interests. However, the theories and evidence provided in those papers are applicable to so much more. I mainly bought and read this book to learn more about EP and furthermore how it can be applicable in Behavioral Finance. There are some papers about decision making, which is relevant i this sense, but most relevant and to me most interesting was "Rationality and Utility: Economics and Evolutionary Psychology". As the authors of this chapter phrase it: " Nonetheless, overall, it appears that this mode of thinking has had less of an effect on economics, and particularly on behavioral economics, than might be justified. We think there is much room for improvement, and we hope that economists will agree with us."
I am an economist and a behavioral finance enthusiast and I totally agree, there is definitely a lot that economics and behavioral finance can have use of from EP.
I find this book highly interesting and a great encyclopedia for EP. I think that no matter what your main are of interest is you'll find a lot of interesting applications of EP that will spur new ideas and new applications of EP. I haven't been able to find a better book on EP and its applications in business, marketing and finance, so I highly recommend it to anyone that has a great interest for learning more about EP.
I wish that every leader who has over 100 employees under him would read this book. And I hope that they will take the time to read it. If you can only read 1 book in your life, and you want to work with leadership - this could very well be the book you should choose. At least you can't argument against the points made in this book. And all the points have huge studies behind them. A book for everyone who want's to be the best mind in business science.
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