Charles Darwin stated that “in the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”
In the book Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan, Darwin’s theory of survival is extended from the individual to the enterprise. “Organizations, like organisms in nature, depend for survival on their ability to acquire an adequate supply of resources necessary to sustain existence. In this effort they have to face competition from other organizations, and since there is usually a scarcity of resources, only the fittest survive.”
Even in cases where resources are abundant and self renewing, organizations are always competing to survive. This competition takes the form of who can supply the end user with the products or services they need better, faster, and cheaper. The competition, in this case, is not for resources, but to be the resource to others. For in being the supplier of choice to its customers or stakeholders, the enterprise thrives and survives in executing its mission.
Indeed, in a competitive economy, there is always the opportunity for a competitor to arise and challenge the organization’s role in the marketplace. It is this competition that is considered not only healthy, but also a cornerstone for continuously improving product and service quality and keeping prices at bay for customers.
Even in government, where some may think there is no competition, agencies not only compete for limited resources (funds, people, and so on), but also for being the provider of choice to the citizens. As one example, in the federal government, there are several agencies that can provide banking regulation, such as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Office of Thrift supervision (OTS), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Federal Reserve.
In a competitive environment, EA is a tool for business and technology planning and governance that helps an organization deliver on its mission and be the provider of choice to its customers.