Toward a Conceptual Model of Organizational Regression

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This article presents an elaborated model of organizational regression suggesting that, within the framework of general systems and catastrophe theory, organizational units and whole enterprises can be viewed as struggling to attain a state of superresilience that enables them to cope effectively with a large number of regressive forces. The model comprises 6 phases of organizational regression that occur either in a 10-stage process or in a chaotically unpredictable but behaviorally understandable and orderly sequence. Internal and external regressive forces that constantly pressure an organization toward less effective performance and more primitive behavior are identified. Organizational barriers and balancing forces that counter the regressive pressures are also described, along with the consequences of regression for individuals and enterprises. Several brief case illustrations are provided to highlight aspects of this conceptual approach.

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