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Bas, Koen, Toon, Toon Abcouwer

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

The University of Amsterdam is working on a research project in this field. Many students participated in courses focusing on this topic and are doing / did their thesis research related to this adaptive cycle of resilience.
Some of their theses can be found via the link Thesis Work.
Under Announcements you can find further information on our research initiatives.

The project and education

This Wiki is an important source of information for students following the (Virtual) organizations in a dynamic context course. For the last three years several groups of students worked on this wiki to gather literature and further information that might be of help in understanding this cycle. The last session of this course took place in October - November 2014. Next year the subject will be part of the course Business IT Alignment that will take place in September / October 2015.

The students will participate in the development of this Wiki during this course.
The information on the wiki is available under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike.

The basic text for this course can be found here: Sustainable assertiveness - the adaptive cycle of resilience

There is also a Dutch version of the text. So if you prefer that one you can find it here : Dutch version

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, Koen, Toon, Toon Abcouwer