New “organizational genetics” research grant brings total funding to $675K

April 10, 2013 //

Three Fox School of Business professors and a Temple College of Science and Technology partner received their fourth grant for research into organizational genetics, a new field that applies analytic tools used in evolutionary biology to the study of organizational processes.

The three-year, approximately $275,000 grant was awarded in February by the National Science Foundation (NSF), primarily for research expenses and graduate student staff. This is the third NSF grant the researchers have received, in addition to a grant from French research foundation CIGREF. In total, the research has received about $675,000 in grant funding.

Youngjin Yoo
Professor Youngjin Yoo

The organizational genetics project is titled “The structure and dynamics of generative innovations: An organizational genetics approach,” and is led by Management Information Systems (MIS) Professor Youngjin Yoo, MIS Assistant Professors of Sunil Wattal and Bin Zhang of the Fox School and Assistant Professor of biology Rob Kulathinal.

The success and failure of digital products, such as smartphones, is determined by the size and scope of various apps that are built by third-party developers. Companies including Apple, Google and Samsung are trying to build their own ecosystem. Yet researchers still do not know how such ecosystems are built and evolve over time.

This is one of the questions that the organizational genetics project is trying to answer. The project’s inspiration came when the researchers noticed that technological innovations develop in patterns resembling the evolution of natural organisms. The scholars hope that identifying the underlying traits driving technological evolution will enable business leaders to maximize firms’ innovation and performance.