Summary of The Red Queen among Organizations

How Competitiveness Evolves

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The Red Queen among Organizations book summary
In business, as in nature, competition is what forces evolution. And the better you get, the better you have to get.


6 Overall

6 Applicability

8 Innovation

5 Style


This book tackles an important, fascinating subject, “how competitiveness evolves.” Adapting techniques from disciplines as disparate as evolutionary biology and literature (the guiding metaphor of the Red Queen is from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, hinting that the text is not totally devoid of humor), William P. Barnett brings an intelligence to bear that is sharply focused and dense with knowledge. He makes essential observations about organizational learning, offering telling, innovative insights on the real complexity of information management and communication. getAbstract recommends this to serious students of knowledge and management. Regretfully, only serious students are likely to sift through the analysis, since Barnett’s style is as dense as his learning, making for tough going at times – though the Red Queen perspective is worth the trip.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How “Red Queen” competition affects performance and organizational learning
  • How organizations adapt like living organisms to market niches


Competition and the Red Queen
In Lewis Carroll’s classic, Through the Looking Glass, the Red Queen explains how her country differs from normal places. In her skewed kingdom, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” That sounds crazy, as Carroll intended...
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About the Author

William P. Barnett is the Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy and Organizations at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

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