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Miller And Friesen: A Model Of Organizational Adaptation

1044 words - 4 pages

Miller and Friesen (1980)The change in 24 structural and strategy making variables overtime is analysed by a study of 26 companies.Organizations were found to resist reversals in the direction of change in strategy and structure.Two extremes were demonstrated: periods of momentum in which little or no trend is reversed and dramatic periods of revolution in which huge trends are reversed.
Organizations are resistant to change for reasons such as : due to pursuit of stability , avoidance of uncertainity , reluctance to deviate from programmed activities, inability to innovate, for economies of stability etc, Yet this resistance is advantageous to certain firms that are loosely structured, organic, and oriented towards product market innovation, expert power based, etc.Any emerging organizational tendency (like decentralization, technocratization etc),whatever its direction will tend to have momentum associated with it.
A Model of Organizational Adaptation
The model has three related tenets
1. Momentum is expected to be a dominant factor in organizational evolution.Reversals in the direction of change in variables of strategy and structure are expected to be rare.
2. Momentum is likely to coexist among a great many variables of strategy and structure at the same time. Changes(or stability)in the variables will tend to occur together, or will follow one another after a very brief interval, in order to maintain an appropriate balance or "configuration .” so momentum in one variable will lead to momentum in others.
3. Organizational adaptation is also likely to be characterized by periods of dramatic revolution in which there are reversals in the direction of change across a significantly large number of variables of strategy and structure. Two reasons for this assertion are :
o When a major event occurs (like a new strategy, new leader etc) it may destroy a previous gestalt and result in a period of unlearning and inventing and new learning.
o When pervasive momentum has resulted in excess problems then all must be reversed to redress the balance between a firms orientations and the demands of its environment.
Variables measured
The three major variables measured are :
1) Environmental variables (dynamism, hostility, and heterogeneity of markets). 2) Structural and organizational variables (scanning, controls and communication system effectiveness, centralization of authority for strategy making , delegation of routine resource authority, technocratization, availability, differentiation, tenure (years in office) of top management and the prevalence of traditions). 3)Strategy making(proactiveness, risk taking, product-market innovation, analysis, multiplexity, integration, futurity, consciousness of strategies, adaptiveness, and industry expertise. )
Databases and scoring procedures:
Two distinct databases were used in the research. The sample contained 26 firms. Questionnaires were also used to solicit information...

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