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Organizational Resiliency: Developing Adaptive Capacity for Times of Crisis

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

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The world of complex adaptive systems is marked by disruptive changes. Crises occur when organizations encounter disruptive changes that exceed their adaptive capacity. Stress increases when these disruptive changes threaten the continued functionality or survival of an organization. Once stress approaches a tipping point, performance in routine and novel tasks decreases precipitously. In complex socio-technical organizations, the negative interactions between disruptive change, stress, and performance can produce a dynamic feedback loop that may result in organizational failure. Strong organizational resiliency provides off ramps that have the potential to minimize the negative dynamic effects of a crisis cycle. Organizational resiliency is an organizations adaptive capacity to anticipate, absorb, respond to, and capitalize on specific disruptive changes that threaten the functionality or survival of the organization. Strong resiliency is based on trust, a perceived organizational identity, and an open culture. Furthermore, preparedness, responsiveness, adaptability, and learning are four drivers of resiliency that enable graceful extensibility which is the ability to operate at diminish organizational capacity while maneuvering away from crisis-prone areas through resource transference. The implications of this study are that Air Force leaders of socio-technical organizations, should expect disruptive change, identify areas of brittleness, balance efficiency with adaptability, and employ different strategies to mitigate the negative effects disruptive changes have on novel or routine task performance.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]