Publication date (electronic): 30 September 2007
Assessing organizational capacity to adapt
Eleanor D. Glor is a retired public servant. During her career, she worked for the Government of Canada, two Canadian provincial governments, a regional municipality and a city. Before retiring she worked on sustainable development in the Public Health Agency of Canada. Eleanor has published about innovation in the areas of aging, rehabilitation, public health, and aboriginal health. She has published four books, a chapter and more than forty articles on public sector innovation from an organizational, especially a public service perspective. Her current interest is whether or not innovation is good for the longevity of organizations.Eleanor has been active in several public administration organizations, including the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, the International Institute of Administrative Sciences and the American Society for Public Administration.She is Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, and Fellow, McLaughlin College, York University, Toronto. She is also editor-in-chief of The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, and gives workshops on public service innovation.
External link: http://www.innovation.cc
Currently 65-70 percent of organizational change efforts fail. This paper suggests that the dominant, linear approaches to organizational change may be less functional than complexity analyses and approaches to organizational change. Focusing on self-organizing rather than linear relationships, the author attempts to distinguish organizational capacity for adaptability among different organizational patterns identified by Glor (2001a, 2001b), emphasizing the three complex factors of individuals, social dynamics, and the challenge of implemention. It defines adaptation using criteria drawn from the theory of complex adaptive systems: variety, reactivity, and capacity for self-organized emergence. At a conceptual level, the analysis is able to identify varying capacities for adaptation among the different organizational patterns, some of them surprising.
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