NGO operate in a complex, rapidly changing Macro- and Micro-Environment.
The Micro-Environment of NGOs is today characterized by:
Increased competition among NGOs.
- Growing competition between NGOs and Enterprises.
- Higher expectations of stakeholders.
The Macro-Environment is in many countries politically, socially and economically unstable.
Some places expose employees, buildings, machines and equipment to the risk of natural disasters.
The term organizational adaptability describes the ability and readiness of an organization to:
- Anticipate and respond to external threats and opportunities.
- Influence the Macro- and Micro-Environment in its favor.
- Cope with high impact events and recover quickly.
- Cope with longer lasting periods of difficulties.
- Achieve change in an effective and efficient way.
Organizations can influence their adaptability through a number of activities (graphic 1).
Graphic 1: Activities focused on organizational adaptability
Activities focused on organizational adaptability are discussed in another section of this website:
- Information needs of an adaptable organization
- Scanning and monitoring the organizational environment
- Make your NGO adaptable
Advantages of being an adaptable organization
- You will recognize positive or negative trends in the organizational environment at an early stage.
- You can make the necessary internal adjustments before it is too late.
- You will cope better and recover quicker from high-impact events.
- You increase your chances to survive through difficult times.
- You can take advantage of an opportunity when it occurs.
- You may be able to influence some components of the environment in the organization´s favor.
- You can maintain your relevance to stakeholders. As a consequence you increase your chances to secure the necessary financial resources in the future
- You reduce safety and health risks of your employees
Sources / Guide to further reading (available online)
Inter-American Development Bank, IDRC, Organizational Assessment, A Framework for improving performance, 2002, at: http://www.idrc.ca/openebooks/998-4/
- The manual describes in chapter 5 how an NGO can remain relevant to its stakeholders
IDRC, Evaluating capacity development, 2003, at: http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-31556-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
- The study distinguishes between the capacities that an organization needs to carry out day-to-day activities and those it needs to respond to a changing environment. These so-called adaptive capacities required in different areas of the organization are described in detail in chapter 2 of the study.
John L. Ward, The root of adaptability, 2006, at: http://www.imd.ch/research/challenges/TC030-06.cfm
- A short report about lessons learned from 100 plus year-old family firm describes the main features of adaptable companies