Drivers of Organizational Responsiveness: Experiences of a Military Crisis Response Organization

Journal of Organizational Design, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2013), pp. 1-14

14 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2013 Last revised: 14 Jan 2015

See all articles by Erik de Waard

Erik de Waard

Netherlands Defence Academy

H. W. Volberda

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Joseph L. Soeters

Tilburg University - Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Date Written: August 20, 2013

Abstract

The topic of organizational responsiveness – where organizations need to flexibly react to strategic and operational demands simultaneously – has been under-explored in strategic management research. Our study was initiated to shed more light on this topic, primarily by studying an organization specifically designed to handle crises. By definition, crisis response organizations have to be prepared to react to unpredictable events. Moreover, the volatility of the crisis situation itself requires a high degree of flexibility to get or keep the situation under control. The study hypothesizes modular organizing and organizational sensing to be key drivers of organizational responsiveness. Empirically, we examine the effect these two variables have on the responsiveness of the Netherlands armed forces for crisis response deployment. Findings indicate that modular organizing and organizational sensing are drivers of responsiveness. In addition, our study uncovered the importance of an organization’s level of system decomposition to responsiveness. A high degree of system granularity can lead to a predominantly inward focus whereas organizational responsiveness calls for a strong external orientation.

Keywords: organizational responsiveness, crisis response, organization design, modularity

Suggested Citation

de Waard, Erik and Volberda, Henk W. and Soeters, Joseph L., Drivers of Organizational Responsiveness: Experiences of a Military Crisis Response Organization (August 20, 2013). Journal of Organizational Design, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2013), pp. 1-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2319909

Erik De Waard (Contact Author)

Netherlands Defence Academy ( email )

PO Box 90002
Breda, 4800
Netherlands

Henk W. Volberda

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2761 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9013 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eur.nl/fbk/dep/dep4/faculty_members/Henk_Volberda

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Joseph L. Soeters

Tilburg University - Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 2069 (Phone)

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