Organisational phylogenesis : Developing and evaluating a memetic methodology.

HAWARDEN-LORD, Andrew Sinclair. (2004). Organisational phylogenesis : Developing and evaluating a memetic methodology. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This research evaluates the unorthodox proposition that organisational development proceeds through the Darwinian processes of variation, selection and inheritance acting upon a non-genetic replicating code. This new replicator represents the fundamental unit of cultural transmission and was termed by evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, as the meme. The memetic position re-introduces many often neglected, sometimes shunned, evolutionary arguments into social and organisational debate by providing a naturalistic and plausible hereditary element upon which socio-cultural adaptation operates. The popularity of the neologism 'meme' initially grew through rather ad-hoc non-scientific usage on the Internet. For some time, this geekish tendency has tarnished the idea of memetics and impeded serious academic investigation into the subject. A more rigorous philosophical treatment has been provided by Daniel Dennett who has argued that, while a science of memetic cladistics may be both desirable and feasible, it remains unlikely. On the other hand one of Dawkins' most famous critics, Mary Midgley, heralds dark forebodings that one-day memes may be given actual credence. The present study necessitated the adaptation of conventional genealogical and taxonomic methods, for novel application in confirming congruence between actual organisational phylogeny and hereditary traits. One specific requirement was to develop a means of identifying, capturing and codifying such traits as meme strips for phenetic analysis. In order to handle the computational complexity inherent in the phenetic reconstruction algorithms, proprietary software had to be produced. This was extensively tested upon meme strips generated through simulated evolution. Western Christian denominational families provided a source of empirical evidence and demonstrated that the methods could be successfully applied to real organisational forms. A theological phylogeny was reliably reconstructed thereby upholding the hypothesis of cultural descent with modification based on a memetic replication. Further support for the claim was made in conjunction with the rendering of a facilities management market landscape. More importantly however, the results coming from this research suggest that the potential for formulating a science of memetics may be significantly greater than in Dennett original consideration.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2004.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 05:39
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19772

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