Inducing Adaptation in Organizations: Concept and Experiment Design
Entin, Elliot E.
Weil, Shawn A.
Kleinman, David L.
Hutchins, Susan G.
Hocevar, Susan P.
Kemple, William G.
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Mission performance is likely to be high when organizational structures are “congruent” with the mission and degraded when organizational structures are “incongruent” with the mission. All else being equal, it is to an organization’s advantage to monitor the fit between its structure and mission, and to alter its structure when a misfit is identified. We afforded teams the opportunity to adapt their organizational structure to changes in the mission. In the forced case, teams had to allocate new assets to deal with a SCUD threat entering theater. In another situation, the team could adapt their organizational structure to a mission that had grown incongruent with that structure. Our primary interest was this adaptation process. Results indicate that the teams did adapt; frequently, they made many small changes to adjust workload and to compensate for weak team members. Less frequently, they made major changes in response to changing mission and task requirements. Teams appeared reluctant to make the larger changes necessary to realign organizational structure and mission. This reluctance stems in part from their concern with the cost of change and in part from a difficultly in understanding organizational structures and the ramifications of changes made to the structures. Enhanced training and model driven decision aids may help to ameliorate the problems.
The Command & Control Research & Technology Symposium, SPAWAR, San Diego, CA June 15 - 17, 2004
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