Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From Adaptation to Transformation: A Resilience Perspective on Organizational Responses to Ecological Adversity
by Clément, Viviane, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2017, 140; 10619173
Abstract (Summary)

How do firms adapt to the intensity of adverse conditions stemming from the natural environment (ecological adversity intensity)? In this dissertation, I develop several lines of inquiry in exploring this question. First, I seek to contribute to generally diverging perspectives on organizational adaptation, which view firms as either inherently constrained or capable of continuous adaptation to fit their environment. To do this, I examine the conditions under which firms are more likely to adapt to different levels of ecological adversity intensity. My findings from a 13-year longitudinal analysis of western U.S. ski resorts’ adaptation to temperature conditions indicate that firms facing moderate ecological adversity intensity appear more likely to engage in higher adaptation levels while those experiencing low and high ecological adversity intensity show a tendency for lower adaptation levels. That is, both diverging perspectives may predict part of firms’ adaptive responses to ecological adversity intensity. My findings also suggest firms may encounter limits to adaptation when facing increasing ecological adversity intensity. I also undertake a post hoc exploration of firm and institutional environment level factors that may moderate the relationship between ecological adversity intensity and firm adaptation. Second, I use an interdisciplinary approach that draws from resilience theory in socioecology to suggest that the existing conceptualization of organizational resilience could be expanded to include transformative change, which may allow firms to mitigate the operational impacts of reaching adaptation limits. Third, I also consider the resilience implications of the interdependency between firms and the broader ecosystems in which they operate. I conclude with potential avenues for future research in this area.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rivera, Jorge
Commitee: Bansal, Tima, Mann, Michael, Wade, James, Walter, Jorge
School: The George Washington University
Department: Business Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Business administration, Climate Change, Sustainability
Keywords: Adaptation limits, Ecological adversity, Organizational adaptation, Resilience theory
Publication Number: 10619173
ISBN: 978-0-355-25268-2
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