Adaptability and Copability: A Study of Organization/Environment Contingencies

Motamedi, Kurt K.
August 1976
Academy of Management Proceedings (00650668);1976, p383
Conference Proceeding
This paper explores two central processes that are basic to any social systems survival. The two processes are not totally independent of one another and are complementary. Adaptability refers to a social systems ability to sense and understand its internal external environments and take actions to achieve a fit or balance between the two. Adaptability leads to a greater system relevancy. Capability (cope-ability) is a social system's ability to conserve its identity and overcome the change problem internally. This paper sets forth sets of behaviors which relate to adaptability and capability. Emery and Trist's typology of environments are used to construct a contingency model of appropriate models of behavior for system survival. Implications of these concepts and their contingent characteristics with other organizational variables are discussed. The paper points out that as the future environment becomes more turbulent it becomes increasingly important that managers systematically assess their organization's (or subsystem's) adaptability and copability.


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