Biology and Strategy: The Hermit Crab

Survival is nature’s second nature. All organisms strive to survive, but the hermit crab, perhaps best known for occupying second-hand shells, has developed particularly impressive survival mechanisms.

If injured during a predator attack, for example, it may react by shedding the injured limb and retreating into its shell, where it plays dead. Like a firm preserving capital, the hermit limits its losses with this move. Then the crab invests in transformation: it will molt, shedding its exoskeleton, which often results in regeneration of the lost limb. The hermit crab thus mirrors the two-stage transformational journey of many companies employing a renewal approach to strategy.

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