Advanced research on complex adaptive systems

Funding Sources



Although theory and research on topics related to organizational adaptability have been pursued for well over half a century, the state of the science in this domain remains remarkably underdeveloped. Research is fragmented across distinct levels of theory and analysis – micro/individual, meso/team, and macro/system – with relatively little cross or multilevel integration. However, the continued trend towards organizational structures that embrace fluid and team-based networks capable of dynamically restructuing to achieve goals and meet emergent needs has placed even greater significance on understanding the generative processes and conditions that facilitate effective adaptation.

In this stream of research, my colleagues and I are working to develop robust and actionable theory to investigate the dynamic processes of organizational adaptation across individuals, teams, and team systems. Our goal in this work is to investigate adaptation triggered by external environmental disturbances as an emergent phenomenon, unfolding over time, and subject to the influence of the core process mechanisms of goal prioritization, team system design, and team leadership. To facilitate these efforts, we rely heavily on computational modeling (agent-based modeling) and simulation to integrate core mechanisms of adaptatation and team functioning, identify key insights, and advance key propositions and principles for facilitating organizational adaptation. Our model (labeled VISTAS, Virtual Individual, System, and Team Adaptation Simulation) is a continuation and significant extension of our prior work modeling effectiveness in team-based systems.

James A. Grand
James A. Grand
Associate Professor, Psychology

A scientist at heart, an organizational psychologist by training, and a lucky dad and husband all the time.