Today's global business mindset requires flexibility and the ability to make changes to our organization, at all levels, quickly. Organizational flexibility is achieved when any component of an organization, and any individual within an organization, can be flexible if and when needed. We have been limiting ourselves by equating organizational flexibility with specific, narrowly conceived types of flexibility, such as strategic, operational or labour flexibility. In this paper, we apply the classic Katz and Kahn open systems conceptualization of an organization and its subsystems in order to more broadly conceive the concept of organizational flexibility. We then illustrate how the types of flexibility that have been discussed in the literature to date fit into these subsystems, and that the application of the open systems framework both grounds the concept of organizational flexibility in open systems theory and illuminates the ways in which organizations and individuals need to be flexible in order to prosper in today's hypercompetitive markets.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/tim_kiessling/31/