Adaptive Cycle of Change
by Joris Westerveld
This study constitutes a next step in elevating the understanding of the dynamics of the Adaptive Cycle of Change, and what role resilience, uncertainty and information systems have within its context in particular. The research is conducted through a literature review, data analysis (from an existing dataset) and interviews.
Organizational resilience seems an aspect underrepresented in today’s business organizations. While resilience is considered an important factor in guaranteeing the continuity of a business, it is often overlooked for the sake of gaining or retaining the status quo. In this light, practices like standardization, changes in efficiency and complexity reduction are considered important processes, while it eventually will lead to an organizational crisis. Reasons for this distorted view that emerged in this study are the size of the organization (large organizations find it difficult to keep flexible, for instance), blind spots of the traditional manager (only focusing on Equilibrium and the prevention of a Crisis), and the aversion against change in general and the assumptive side effects resilience has. In addition, the role of information systems (and IT in general) is increasing as it continues to intertwine with the business. Information systems are believed to be an important factor in decision making and effectuating standardization throughout the organization. In this light, for organizations to realize sufficient adaptability while keeping a certain structured base is considered a challenge yet to overcome. In conclusion, this study offers a foundation for further research on the Adaptive Cycle of Change and its implications within organization theory. The Cube of Resilience is proposed; a model combining the Adaptive Cycle of Change and Adaptive Cycle of Resilience to one comprehensive three-dimensional representation which can provide a better insight in the dynamics of the cycle, its component parts and variables.
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