This paper explores whether something can be said about the likely evolution of organizational change patterns. It addresses such questions as (1) whether some patterns are more likely to remain constant and others are more likely to evolve into different patterns and (2) whether some patterns are likely to evolve more quickly than others. In other words, it considers whether some patterns may be more (un)stable than others. If an organizational population performing in an organizational pattern changes to a different pattern, this paper also explores the likely dynamics at work, models what the changes might be and develops hypotheses about those changes.
Currently 65-70 percent of organizational change efforts fail. This paper suggests that the dominant, linear approaches to organizational change may be less functional than complexity analyses and approaches to organizational change. Focusing on self-organizing rather than linear relationships, the author attempts to distinguish organizational capacity for adaptability among different organizational patterns identified by Glor (2001a, 2001b), emphasizing the three complex factors of individuals, social dynamics, and the challenge of implemention. It defines adaptation using criteria drawn from the theory of complex adaptive systems: variety, reactivity, and capacity for self-organized emergence. At a conceptual level, the analysis is able to identify varying capacities for adaptation among the different organizational patterns, some of them surprising.