Organizational Adaptive Capacity: How Much, How Fast, and How Often
Civilian Research Paper Aug 2011-Mar 2012
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE
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The Army is an inherently changing and adaptive organization with a history of evolving technological implementation, doctrinal concepts, and organizational structure. Current doctrine and literature describe Army adaptation with the need for adaptive traits in both individuals and organizations and generally define conditions for implementing change, yet overall, fail to explain how organizational change operates and the feedback loops and time delays that determine how much, how fast and how often change is possible. The lack of mechanistic understanding and a working model for how Army organizational change operates creates the possibility of limited adaptive capacity by design and of uncontrolled, unpredicted, and ultimately passive change at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. A model of adaptive capacity that includes feedback loops, rates of change and time delays provides a framework for determining how much, how fast, and how often an organization can change. The Army brigade combat team structure is used as a model organization to examine the possibilities of the adaptive capacity framework. The impact of the model on force structure, leadership, Army culture, and joint operations is addressed. This organizational adaptive capacity model is ultimately proposed for doctrinal adoption.