Charles Darwin, CEO: Some Applications of Evolutionary Psychology to Management

  • Cezar Giosan


This theoretical paper outlines two potential applications of evolutionary psychology to management. Organizational change and voluntary turnover are discussed. It is argued that in certain cases people will be less resistant to change if organizational developers downplayed the perception of the actual expected outcome instead of emphasizing on the future positive consequences of the change. It is also argued that from an evolutionary perspective job security and advancement opportunities are the most important factors in ensuring people retention.


Abbasi, S. M. & Hollman, K. W. (2000). Turnover: The real bottom line. Public Personnel Management Washington. 29, 333-342.

Alexander, R., D. (1987). The biology of moral systems. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine DeGruyter.

Anonymous (2001). Constant change wearies managers. Management Services Enfield, 45, 3.

Brown, J. (2000). Employee turnover costs billions annually. Computing Canada Willowdale. 26, 25.

Brown, J. (2001). Emotional intelligence. Computing Canada. Willowdale, 27, 25.

Buss, D. M. (1995). The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. New York: Basic Books.

Camerer, C., & Weber, M. (1992). Recent developments in modeling preferences: Uncertainty and ambiguity. Journal of risk and uncertainty, 5, 325-370.

Chambers, J. M. (1999). The job satisfaction of managerial and executive women: Revisiting the assumptions. Journal of Education for Business Washington, 75, 69-74.

Cole, C. L. (2000) Building loyalty in the workforce. Costa Mesa, 79, 42-48.

Colvin, G. (1998). What money makes you do. Fortune, NY, Aug. 17, 1998.

Curley, S. P.,Yates, J. F., & Abrams, R. A. (1986). Psychological sources of ambiguity avoidance. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 38, 230-256.

Decker, D., Wheeler, G. E., Johnson, J. & Parsons, R. J. (2001, June). Effect of organizational change on the individual employee The Health Care Manager, 19, 1-12.

Eisenberg, N. (1986). Altruistic emotion, cognition, and behavior: Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Franklin, D. (2000). Talk to me. Credit Union Management. Madison. 23, 42-44.

Gilbert, P. (1990). Changes: Ranks, status and mood. In S. Fischer & C. L. Cooper (Eds.), On the move: The psychology of change and transition (pp. 33-52). New York: Wiley.

Gooley, T.B. (2001). How to keep good people. Logistics Management and Distribution Report Radnor,40, 55-60.

Gunn, B. (2001). How to change. Strategic Finance Montvale, 82, 11-12.

Guthrie, J. P. (2000). Alternative pay practices and employee turnover: An organization economics perspective. Group & Organization Management. Thousand Oaks. 25, 419-439.

Hom, P. W. & Griffeth, R. W. (1995). Employee turnover. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing. hooks, b. (1984). Feminist theory: From margin to center: Boston: South End Press.

Hutson, D. (2000). New incentives are on the rise. Compensation and Benefits Review. Saranac Lake 32, 40-46.

Lawler, E. E. (1990). Strategic pay. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science. New York: Harper.

Marshall, J. (2001). Employee retention linked to better customer service. Financial Executive. Morristown 17, 11-12.

Michaud, L. (2000). Turn the tables on employee turnover: Five keys to maximum employee retention. Manage. Dayton, 52, 26-27.

Mitchell, T., Holtom, B., Lee, T., Sablynski, C., & Erez, M. (in press). Why people stay: Using job embeddedness to predict voluntary turnover. Academy of management journal.

Nicholson, N. (1997). Evolutionary psychology: Toward a new view of human nature and organizational society. Human Relations, New York, 50, 1053-1078.

Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T. & Dirks, K. T. (2001). Toward a theory of psychological ownership in organizations. The Academy of Management Review, 26, 298-311.

Roberts, B. (2001). Retention deficit syndrome. Electronic Business. Highlands Ranch, 27, 68-78.

Rode, C., & Wang, X. (2000). Risk sensitive decision making examined within an evolutionary framework. American behavioral scientist, 43, 926-939.

Rode, C., Cosmides, L., Hell, W., & Tooby, J. (1999). When and why do people avoid unknown probabilities in decisions under uncertainty? Testing some predictions from optimal foraging theory. Cognition. 72. 269-304.

Steel, R. P. & Griffeth, R. W. (1989). The elusive relationship between perceived employment opportunity and turnover behavior: A methodological or conceptual artifact. Journal of applied psychology, 74, 846-854.

Tooby, J., & DeVore, I. (1987). The reconstruction of hominid behavioral evolution through strategic modeling. In W. G. Kinzey (Ed.), The evolution of human behavior (pp. 183-237). New York: State University of New York Press.

Ulrich, D., Halbrook, R., Meder, D., Stuchlik, M., & Thorpe, S. (1991). Employee and customer attachment. Synergies for competitive advantage. Human Resource Planning 14, 89-103.