From the perspective of systems theory, corporations are remarkably similar to living organisms. According to the text Living Systems, by J.G. Miller, a classic seminal work on systems theory, there are nineteen functions that all living systems exhibit, and some have suggested that organizations such as corporations have all of these functions.
Recent trends in science, complexity theory, and cutting-edge management theory are increasingly focused on applying analogies from nature -- such as the self-organization of ant colonies and bee hives -- to the sphere of management and business strategy. But are these more than analogies? Are organizations actually a new form of living system that is in the process of evolving? If this is the case, what are these organisms like? What stage of evolution are they at, and how can we measure or rank them in terms of their level of evolution? Are there different species of organizations? Do organizations reproduce? Do they have thoughts -- and can we measure these? What is the long-term future of this evolutionary process? And what does all this mean for organizations today? How does viewing organizations in this way change the process of management? Should managers change the way they manage in light of this?