Bringing the biophysical to the fore: re-envisioning organizational adaptation in the era of planetary shifts
The nature and scope of changes in organizations’ external environments is without precedent due to planetary shifts, or major changes in earth’s biophysical systems. Our theories of organizational adaptation lack the capacity to explain what will be needed on behalf of business organizations, and their strategists and managers, to adjust to these shifts. In this essay, we review organizational adaptation theory and explain why it falls short of offering adequate explanations in an era of planetary shifts. We then draw on ecological theories of adaptation, with their focus on social-ecological systems and panarchy, to suggest ways to advance organizational adaptation theory for our times.