Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization

Organizational Change

Business administrators have become very interested in such processes as organizational change as they try to understand the factors that affect the transformation of a company. These administrators have come to realize that change is a force that cannot be ignored. For this reason, it has become necessary to understand the forces that may affect change, and how they can be manipulated in order to achieve the desired outcome. In this paper, the researcher seeks to identify some of the common sources of change that may result into the transformation of a firm.

Dooley Researcher

The article written by Dooley (1997) examines how complex adaptive systems function in order to initiate change within an organization. The scholar notes that an organization is a set of complex elements that interact with one another in various ways and at various stages. This scholar uses the term complex because he believes that it is not easy to trace the relationship between these elements within the system. However, it is important to trace this relationship in order to determine how a given change process may have a ripple effect on the other components within the system. Studying organizational behavior from the perspective of adoptability makes it easy for the researchers to have a better understanding of change processes (Dooley, 1997). Although this article may not help in developing clear guidelines for change within an organizational setting, it does provide reasons why many organizations have failed in their attempt to embrace change. This way, it makes it possible to identify some of the common mistakes that organizations always make in their change programs. Agard (2010, p. 553) believes that organizational systems work in the same manner as the systems in the living organisms. The systems in the living organisms work very closely in order to enable the organism to function normally. Any effect on any of the components of the system will affect the normal functions of the organism. An organization works in a similar manner. Whenever a component within the system is affected, the organization will not function normally. Agard (2010) warns that business administrators must be aware of the fact that organizations may not operate as per the pre-determined patterns. Sometimes an external force that was not planned for may affect the system, creating a ripple effect that the management will have to deal with in order to normalize the operations.

The Concept of Adaptability: Loma, Larsen, and Ginsberg

The concept of adaptability is held by many other researchers too. Loma, Larsen, and Ginsberg (1997) argue that complex non-linear patterns always govern the organizational adaptation. This means that choices and actions made by different authorities within an organization may not lead to the desired outcomes. This view is shared by Agard (2010) who says that sometimes an attempt to introduce change within an organization may result into unexpected consequences. Business administrators should focus on issues that may undermine their decisions in various ways. They also need to understand that different stakeholders will reason differently based on their backgrounds. An approach taken when dealing with one stakeholder may not work when handling another stakeholder. As a manager, it is important to resolve such conflicts that may arise within an organizational system in order to harmonize the operations within the firm. Agard (2010) says that it is important to understand the impact of various factors on the organizational system that may affect its change efforts.

The article by Goya and Chittipeddi (1991) focuses on the concept of sense-making and sense-giving. The scholars argue that senior management should make sense out of the past operations. They should be able to explain why a given program failed to deliver the expected outcome despite the effort that was put by the firm. This way, it will be possible to explain why change will be necessary, as Goya and Chittipeddi (1991, p. 446) observe. This view is shared by Hill and Jones (2009) who insists on the need to have a proper communication when implementing change. Proper communication makes it easy for the employees to understand and support change initiatives. This notion is based on the assumption that people tend to support change when they understand its necessity and how it can be implemented within a given setting. Organizations that use proper communication and ensure that all the stakeholders understand the relevance of change tend to be more successful than those that fail to convince their stakeholders about the relevance of change.

The article by Devin and Poole (1995) focuses on the development of a framework that can be used to interpret the existing organizational change theories. The first and second order change models can be used in this interpretation. The first order is a transformation that involves a modification of some aspects within the organization. The second order is a whole shift of the entire system from one approach to the other. Hill and Jones (2009) note that it is important for the leaders to determine which of the two orders will be necessary for a firm. Sometimes it may be necessary to introduce simple changes in various components of a firm instead of bringing a sudden major change that may disrupt the normal operations of a firm. However, in some rare cases, it may be necessary to conduct an overhaul of the entire system, especially when a firm is facing serious challenges in its operations. When developing change policies, these factors should be taken into account.

Wick and Quinn Approaches

When studying change, one can use different approaches. According to Wick and Quinn (1999), episodic and continuous models are some of the common types of approaches that can be used when studying change. Episodic model holds that change is necessary when an organization is planning to achieve specific goals. On the other hand, continuous model is based on the premise that change is a gradual process that is achieved when a firm embraces learning and innovation as key components of employee development. Sometimes an organization can be in a gradual process of change without the knowledge of the key stakeholders. By embracing innovation and learning, a firm will be developing new ways of addressing various tasks. This gradual process of change based on learning can help a firm remain relevant when the industry is in the process of a shift.

The discussion above reveals that study of organizational change is very important to various stakeholders who need to understand the relevance of change and how it can be managed. It is clear that maintaining clear communication within a firm is a key issue when introducing change. It is also clear that a firm should embrace leaning and innovation because they help a firm to keep introducing new concepts slowly. The managers should understand that an organization is a system made up of elements that relate closely.


Agard, K. (2010). Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: A Reference Handbook. New York, NY: SAGE.

Devin, A., & Poole, M. (1995). Poole ‘Explaining development and change in organizations, Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 510–540.

Dooley K. (1997). A complex adaptive systems model of organizational change. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Science, 1(1), 69–97.

Goya, D., & Chittipeddi, K. (1991) Sensemaking and sensegiving in strategic change initiation, Strategic Management Journal, 12(6), 433–448.

Hill, C., & Jones, G. (2009). Strategic Management Theory: An Integrated Approach. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Loma, A., Larsen, E., & Ginsberg, A. (1997). Adaptive Learning in Organizations: A System Dynamics-Based Exploration. Journal of Management, 23(4), 561-582.

Wick, K., & Quinn, R. (1999) Organizational change and development, Annual Review of Psychology, 50(25), 361–386.

Cite this paper

Select style


BusinessEssay. (2022, January 12). Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization. Retrieved from


BusinessEssay. (2022, January 12). Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization.

Work Cited

"Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization." BusinessEssay, 12 Jan. 2022,


BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization'. 12 January.


BusinessEssay. 2022. "Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization." January 12, 2022.

1. BusinessEssay. "Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization." January 12, 2022.


BusinessEssay. "Function Adaptive Systems in an Organization." January 12, 2022.