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Work Meets LifeExploring the Integrative Study of Work in Living Systems$
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Robert Levin, Simon Laughlin, Christina De La Rocha, and Alan Blackwell

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014120

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014120.001.0001

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Niche Construction and Human Behavioral Ecology: Tools for Understanding Work

Niche Construction and Human Behavioral Ecology: Tools for Understanding Work

Chapter:
(p.113) 5 Niche Construction and Human Behavioral Ecology: Tools for Understanding Work
Source:
Work Meets Life
Author(s):

Kevin Laland

Gillian Brown

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262014120.003.0005

This chapter discusses the link between evolution and work in a different way. It asks what effects organisms’ work has on the process of evolution itself. It also continues beyond niche construction to demonstrate how research on human behavioral ecology can effectively be used to evaluate human work. This chapter shows that there are likely to be many species for which cultural niche construction plays an evolutionary role, and a multitude of other species in which noncultural niche construction influences evolution. It argues that the traditional optimality methods of behavioral ecology, so far largely restricted to small-scale, traditional societies, could still be of utility in predicting human behavior in the contemporary workplace.

Keywords:   evolution, human work, niche construction, human behavioral ecology, contemporary workplace

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