Question #1:
Of the two traditional booksellers in the last quarter century in the U.S., one (Borders) is already out of business, as mentioned above. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the remaining one, Barnes & Noble, recently resigned amid poor company results. Even more recently, the company abandoned its Nook e-reader and may not be long for this world.

Construct a population ecology interpretation for why traditional booksellers have struggled so greatly and appear on the verge of extinction as a population. Your response should in particular emphasize the relevance of the selection dimension of the ecological perspective for understanding the struggles of the Borders and the Barnes & Noble chains.

Question #2:
The big box retailers and even the traditional booksellers have massive size advantages over local/independent booksellers. Drawing specifically on the resource partitioning dimension of the population ecology perspective, explain why local/independent booksellers can stably survive (i.e., carve out a niche).

Question #3:
In the population ecology perspective, organizations are afflicted by structural inertia and have very little ability to adapt to environmental scarcities. Thus, the private university model, with high tuition & fees, best economizes on the scarce resource of research faculty within the environment of elite research schools in the U.S.

(a) In no more than 1 paragraph, explain how a relational perspective helps us understand how U.C. Berkeley has defied the ecology perspective’s prediction of structural inertia and remained competitive with elite private schools despite its historical dependence on California state funds.

(b) One prevalent criticism of executives at U.C. Berkeley (and the 10-campus U.C. system as a whole) is that they lack empathy for the cultural, social, and most of all financial hardships faced by undergraduate students. Had they had this empathy, they might have exhausted all other avenues for raising or saving money before raising tuition & fees. In no more than 1 paragraph, explain how the relational perspective from part (a) provides an alternative understanding for why the University does not make undergraduate access and instruction its highest priority.

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The downward spiral in book sales by traditional booksellers from an ecological standpoint and/or perspective is all about context and within the confines of context, perception is everything (Santrock, 2007). We live in a contemporary society in which some even refer to as the “Microwave Era” wherein individuals want whatever they want fast and without effort and even in the comforts of their home. Within the parameters of ecological and systems theory, all systems are connected and interrelated, so such thoughts and perspectives don’t take long to evolve from the core to all of the interconnected parts of the ecological system ...
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