Volume 24 of Research in Organizational Behavior (ROB) contains a broad and eclectic set of offerings. The chapters address a variety of recent and important concerns in organizational theory, ranging from the evolution of organizations and cross-cultural analyses of managerial behavior to the micro-sociology of knowledge brokering within organizations and the etiology of organizational messes.
The opening chapter, by Glenn Carroll, Stanislav Dobrev, and Anand Swaminathan, examines resource partitioning theory, an important theoretical perspective in population ecology. The next three chapters, broadly construed, address issues of organizational innovation, learning, and adaptation in complex environments. The next contribution, by John Carroll, Jenny Rudolph, and Sachi Hatakenaka examines how high-hazard organizations learn from experience. As with all organizations, high-hazard organizations such as nuclear power plants and chemical plants attempt to learn from experience in order to improve performance and, of course, to avoid catastrophic failure. Unlike many other kinds of organizations, however, failure to learn from prior experience-especially with respect to learning effectively from errors and mishaps-can prove extremely costly and even fatal. Hence, these organizations must balance between learning and control, and must do so under conditions of considerable oversight and scrutiny.
In the next chapter, Eric Abrahamson presents an original and rather provocative analysis of the role disorganization plays in organizational life. The two following chapters in this volume provide important overviews of theory and research on classic phenomena within organizational theory, followed by original theoretical syntheses. Robert Baron's chapter then undertakes a fresh and useful examination of the burgeoning literature on entrepreneurship and the two final chapters in the volume examine essential issues related to our understanding of organizations and the cultural environments in which they are embedded.