feedback-based adaptive technologies

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Feedback-based adaptation technologies (March, 2007) --
These technologies less structured and not as explicitly defined and implemented, but no less common than rational technologies in use in business enterprises. Contemporary theories that emphasize feedback include theories of:

  • experiential learning
  • learning from others (diffusion, imitation)
  • variation/selection

These theories of feedback-based change over time posit that procedures or attributes associated with successes are more likely to survive or replicate at a more rapid rate than procedures or attributes associated with failures.

The central requirements of adaptive processes are:

  1. a reproductive process that replicates successes where the attributes associated with survival are reproduced more reliably than the attributes that are not.
  2. that it generate variety that offer opportunities to experiment with new possibilities

In order to meet these two requirements, adaptive processes engage in activities associated with exploitation - the refinement and implementation of what is known - and exploration - the pursuit of what might come to be known. The character of adaptation is local, contributing to the firm's survival in the short-run but rarely in the long-run. Feedback-based adaptation favors exploitation over exploration, biasing it against risky alternatives. A bias against risk is a bias against exploration.