Organizational Adaptation

Sarta A, Durand R, Vergne JP. 2021. Organizational Adaptation. Journal of Management (January issue Forthcoming)

HEC Paris Research Paper No. SPE-2020-1375

33 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020 Last revised: 30 Sep 2020

See all articles by Andrew Sarta

Andrew Sarta

Western University, Ivey Business School

Rodolphe Durand

HEC Paris - Strategy & Business Policy

Jean-Philippe Vergne

University College London - School of Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 30, 2020

Abstract

Organizational adaptation is equivocal. On the one hand, the concept is ubiquitous in management research and acts as the glue binding together the central issues of organizational change, performance, and survival. On the other hand, it lurks around in various guises (e.g., “fit,” “alignment,” “congruence,” and “strategic change”) studied from multiple theoretical streams (e.g., behavioral, resource-based, and institutional), and at different levels of analysis (e.g., organization- and industry-level). In a novel approach to reviewing 443 adaptation articles that leverages both computational and hand-coded analysis, we produce an interactive visual of the themes most studied by adaptation scholars. We inductively draw out a definition of adaptation as intentional decision-making undertaken by organizational members, leading to observable actions that aim to reduce the distance between an organization and its economic and institutional environments. We then review the literature across three main areas of inquiry and six theoretical perspectives that surfaced from our analysis and identify eleven difficulties that have hampered adaptation research in the past 50 years. Our review suggests ways to address these difficulties to enable future research to develop and cumulate.

Keywords: adaptation, fit, congruence, topic modeling, evolution, strategic change, performance

Suggested Citation

Sarta, Andrew and Durand, Rodolphe and Vergne, Jean-Philippe, Organizational Adaptation (April 30, 2020). Sarta A, Durand R, Vergne JP. 2021. Organizational Adaptation. Journal of Management (January issue Forthcoming), HEC Paris Research Paper No. SPE-2020-1375, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3589257

Andrew Sarta (Contact Author)

Western University, Ivey Business School ( email )

London, Ontario
Canada

Rodolphe Durand

HEC Paris - Strategy & Business Policy ( email )

Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

Jean-Philippe Vergne

University College London - School of Management ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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