Miller and Friesen: A Model of Organizational Adaptation Essays

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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 strat...

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...mentum. Thus a myriad of structural and strategic reversal follows.
Organizations evolve in a manner that is quite similar to the development of scientific knowledge.They evolve consistenly in accordance with a perspective,strategy, ideology, and mission of their own; concepts that are manifested by an integral alignment or gestalt among environmental, organizational and strategic variables. To reverse and abandon this would be exceedingly costly and would result in many discrepancies and imbalances. Major stimuli is required to prompt a revolution. An important note of caution in interpreting the findings is focus has been on significant general tendencies and not a condition that holds for all historical sequences. The findings represent significant tendencies in the sample. The study has given a small insight into the dynamics of adjustment in the corporates.

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