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The adaptive cycle of resilience

Today’s business world is characterized by global competition, high complexity and uncertainty as well as rapid change. The resulting dynamics in the environment lead to diverging requirements for organizations. On the one hand organizations need to be able to manage the present in order to maximize profits and satisfy the short-term interests of shareholders. One the other hand, they need to be flexible, innovative and able to adapt quickly to unforeseen circumstances. Both of them will lead to uncertainty, which occurs in increasingly more rapid succession and disturbs equilibriums more quickly and more radically. This is a very complex balancing act but given the fact that organizations can no longer just assume that current successes will be sustainable in the future, this two-sidedness demonstrates a chance of continuity. Consequently, it is argued that organizations go through a succession of phases over time. Each phase includes a different assessment of reality, culture, management style and actions connected to these. In this regard, we refer to a theoretical model called the “adaptive cycle of resilience” (ACoR).

UvA research project on ACoR

Invitation to participate in a research around the ACoR

As part of our research project we are focussing on blind spots of managers in the process of organization change. An important reason for this research is the fact that it becomes more and more clear that organizations can no longer assume that current successes will be sustainable in the future. Being aware of that development, is not limited to organization theory alone. We also do research on cultural differences in this respect. This is why the research takes place in cooperation with partners in Hungary and Switzerland.

We would like to ask you to participate in this research by filling in this short questionnaire. It will not take longer than 10-15 minutes. In some cases the questions are rather abstract. In such a situation don’t think too long, follow your intuition and answer based on your gut feeling.

We really appreciate when you would be willing to fill in the questionnaire. When you are interested in the results of this research please fill in your email address in the appropriate field.

The links are:
Questionnaire in English
Questionnaire in Hungarian----

The project and education

This Wiki is mainly filled by students following the (Virtual) organizations in a dynamic context course. Several groups of students worked on this wiki to gather literature and further information that might be of help in understanding this cycle.

The information on the wiki is available under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike.

The basic text we used for the course can be found via: Sustainable assertiveness: the adaptive cycle of resilience
Further information and articles (partly in Dutch) can be found under Literature.

Everyone who would like to contribute to this wiki is kindly asked to contact Toon Abcouwer to be enrolled as a contributor.

We hope this site will be interesting and inspiring.

Please be aware of the fact that the wiki is part of an ongoing research project. Content will change in time, it is a living wiki. Go to the Help page to get help on using the wiki.


Add the Announcements page to your watch-list, as we will use this place to make any important announcements.


Bas, Toon, Toon Abcouwer