The Red Queen Among Organizations
IN THIS SUMMARY
In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, the Red Queen leads Alice on a chase after which neither character has moved from the spot where they began. Evolutionary biologists refer to this race as “the Red Queen Effect,” a biological phenomenon in which organisms must continually develop over time simply to keep pace with other organisms in their environment. William Barnett, in The Red Queen Among Organizations, suggests that a similar dynamic occurs when organizations compete. Although it is commonly thought that businesses facing competition will not perform as well as they would in a world without rivalry for customers, Barnett demonstrates that Red Queen competition actually causes organizations to become more formidable in the marketplace.