Adapting through Organizational Agility

RT-381 Topic Summary
RT 381


It has been said that the only constant is change. This statement has never been more relevant than now. Historically stable industries and companies are being disrupted by the changing business environment. When change is inevitable and unavoidable, adaptability becomes critical; however, studies have shown that approximately 70% of all organizational change efforts fail, and this trend holds true for the capital projects industry.

CII launched RT-381 to study whether organizational agility can help plan change efforts more effectively. The team defined organizational agility as the ability of an organization to practice forward-thinking to anticipate and quickly respond to the drivers of change in a constantly changing environment by reconfiguring its structure, people and culture, and processes and technology.

By drawing upon the findings detailed below, RT-381 created an Organizational Change Adaptability Tool (OCAT) to help organizational change initiators, implementors, and managers adapt to changes in their external environment by assessing, contextualizing, and prioritizing where effort is needed. The OCAT allows owner and contractor capital project organizations to jump-start their change planning process more effectively.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Understanding the Context of Organizational Change

The team developed a model to depict the dynamics of organizational change and the elements that must be considered. (See Figure 1.) The model first illustrates how the environment drives organizational change in three dimensions: the weight of the past, the push of the present, and the pull of the future. It then illustrates how change affects four aspects of the organization: strategy, structure, people and culture, and processes and technology.

Reference: (FR-381)

2 : Drawing upon Case Studies to Identify Types of Organizational Change

RT-381 studied case studies and conducted interviews to characterize organizational change in the capital projects industry. Upon this basis, the team identified organizational change in three general types and five specific instances shown in Table 1 (FR-381, p. 13). The team also extracted examples of relevant change practices from the case studies.

Reference: (FR-381)

3 : Understanding the Context of Organizational Change

RT-381 investigated 11 case studies to document which practices enabled successful change in capital project organizations. The team extracted 60 change practices, then mapped them onto the organizational change model, as Figure 2 shows (FR-381, p. 10).

Figure 2. Detail of a Heatmap for the Organizational Change Model

To add more fidelity and understand the DNA of this model, the team surveyed 61 respondents from owner, contractor, service provider capital project organizations. The findings showed how capital project organizations can position themselves for successful change.

Reference: (FR-381)

4 : A Tool Can Help Capital Project Organizations Prepare for Organizational Change

Members: Download this tool from Related Resources, below.

RT-381 developed the Organizational Change Adaptability Tool (OCAT), which is part of Final Report 381 (FR-381, p. 31). OCAT was built in Microsoft Excel and Visual Basic for Applications. The tool helps owner and contractor organizations prepare for and adapt to organizational changes, with specific help for each type of organizational change studied during this research. In this way, OCAT users will have context to learn about a particular change, plan how to implement it, and modify the plan to match unfolding events.

Figure 3. Organizational Change Types Covered by the OCAT

Reference: (FR-381)

Key Performance Indicators

Change Management; Organizational Change; Change Practices; Agility; Transformative Change; Flexibility; Effective Planning; Changing Environment; Adaptability; Strategy; Structure; People and Culture; Process and Technology; Prioritizing Organizational Change Efforts; Organizational Change Management

Research Publications

Jumpstarting Your Organizational Change - FR-381

Publication Date: 10/2022 Type: Final Report Pages: 137 Status: Tool

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Jumpstarting Your Organizational Change

Publication Date: 08/2022 Presenter: Number of Slides: 21 Event Code: AC22



Agility, rt381