How to develop and lead an adaptable organisation | The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

How to develop and lead an adaptable organisation

Research Briefing

Keywords: adaptable organisation, complexity, organisational ambidexterity, leadership, entrepreneurial leadership, enabling leadership, operational leadership, uncertainty, conflicting, connecting

Developing and leading an organisation that can lead and respond to a rapidly changing and often ambiguous environment is a primary challenge for leaders these days. This requires leaders who know how to develop and lead an adaptable organisation. A new study by researchers from the United States conducted an integrative literary review (looking at previous research across a number of disciplines and bringing them together) and an analysis of current studies to see what happens and what lessons exist for developing a framework for adaptive leadership.

The first point researchers make is that leadership aimed at developing and leading an adaptable organisation is different from traditional forms of leadership and different from leading change. Adaptive leadership focuses on how to situate an organisation and its people to become adaptive in rapidly changing, dynamic, complex and uncertain environments. The intention of developing flexibility, agility and adaptation capability requires different thinking and skills from those required for day-to-day organisational leadership and even leadership of organisational change, although there are overlaps.

This research study introduces the key idea of the ‘adaptive space’ which is a really useful concept for anyone trying to develop an adaptable organisation or business.

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