Symbiotic Relationship in its Conceptual and Theoretical Challenges to Management Studies

Toyoko Sato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper attempts to answer two questions: how can we undo the entangled conceptual threads in the semantic jungle of management, and how can we advance our understanding and broaden our sight within that jungle? In order to answer these questions, we study the theoretical concept of symbiotic relationships and its related terms: mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism. Because this relational theory is not uniformly agreed upon by management scholars, we revisit archival texts back to the concept’s nineteenth-century origins in both biology and botany. Two historical moves are underinvested and pivotal for management study: Eugenius Warming’s plant society observation and its influence on human ecology as well as management studies. In addition to archival studies, our method includes a content analysis of word frequencies from Academy of Management publication sites in relation to the theoretical concept of symbiotic relationships. Examining the role of theory in descriptive and normative approaches, the aim of this paper is to show the biological influence on organization and management theory, specifically concerning how such concepts are transformed and reshaped."
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsGuclu Atinc
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020: Broadening Our Sight - Virtual
Duration: 7 Aug 202011 Aug 2020
Conference number: 80


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

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