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The paradox of adaptability and consistency: A case study of balancing processes and mechanisms in the context of episodic change. Open Access

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External episodic change, such as that experienced with the financial crisis of 2007, has the ability to impact the culture of an organization. This type of change requires organizations to address paradoxical conditions of adapting to external environmental conditions while maintaining consistent norms and values. The literature indicates that an organization must balance these paradoxical demands in order to survive and maintain effectiveness, yet a gap exists in explaining how this is accomplished. This study contributes to the literature by presenting an exploratory case that identifies ways in which an organization balanced adaptability and consistency in the context of episodic change.The findings revealed four ways in which the organization balanced. Strong organizational self-efficacy provided a shared belief in the capability to balance competing demands during an episodic change event. A collective-level view of success facilitated balancing paradox as members engaged in activities that supported organization-wide goals. The use of fluid emergent teams enabled balancing behavior by allowing paradoxical activities to concurrently exist. Lastly, a dynamic view of the external environment was facilitated by processes and mechanisms. This view allowed the paradoxical conditions to inform one another, leading to the organization's success.

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