Adaptive Sustainable Organizations: System Dynamic Models of a University Balancing the Virtuous and the Vicious

AbstractGlobal business is becoming increasingly complex and is characterized by rapid and unpredictable change. This unpredictability means that organizations are being challenged at all levels. Customers, employees, partners, investors and society are all sources of uncertainty resulting in the need for organizations to be adaptive. Traditional deliberate strategies based on cycles of stability and predictability are no longer relevant for today┬╣s business environments. Emergent strategies have been proposed by many as the answer. However, this research explores the need for organizations to interweave the deliberate with the emergent in terms of the key behavioral flows of information, learning and control for an organization to be truly adaptive. We propose a systems view of an Adaptive Sustainable Organization and we illustrate this using a research driven University as an example. Furthermore, we build system dynamic models to illustrate the vicious and virtuous cycles that could occur in such a University context.


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