Organizational Adaptation: Choice vs. Determinism
By L.G. Hrebiniak & W.F. Joyce; summarized by Tristan Latour Introduction
There were two views concerning organizational adaptation:
* It’s a process reflecting choice and selection
* It’s a necessary reaction to peremptory environmental forces/conditions (Note: in this paper, adaptation is interpreted as simply “change”, including both proactive & reactive behavior) This paper:
1) Choice and determinism are not two opposite ends of a single continuum of effect, but represent two independent variables. 2) Interaction or interdependence of the two must be studied to explain organizational behavior. Strategic choice vs. Environmental determinism
* Choice: individuals/institutions can construct, eliminate and redefine objective features, thereby creating own measures of reality and delimiting own decisions * Determinism: discernible features of the actual environment may be peremptory (dictatorial) or must at least be considered in decision-making.
Since choice and determinism are independent variables, they can be represented as two axes, both with a ‘high’ and a ‘low’ value (see above), dividing into four quadrants with different characteristics. Quadrant:
1) Low strategic choice, high environmental determinism
* e.g. companies in perfectly competitive markets or imperfectly competitive niches * Small companies selling commodity-type products, with simple systems * Large companies selling undifferentiated products, with low entry/exit barriers and no possible competitive advantage
* Managerial action is limited and constrained; minimum choice. Maneuver around prescriptions.
* Generic strategies: “cost-leadership” or defenders
* Political behavior/conflicts: some externally directed conflicts * Search processes: search is likely to be high, but “solution-driven”
2) High strategic choice, high environmental determinism
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