Team improv-adapt framework: Deconstructing and recombining team adaptation and team improvisation through a process perspective

António Cunha Meneses Abrantes, Ana Margarida Passos, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Patrícia Lopes Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unpredictability and time scarcity are determining factors of contemporary organizational life. When subject to these contexts, teams often resort to adaptation and/or improvisation. In these two processes, teams can adopt one of three alternatives: adapt without improvising, that is, teams adapt with time to plan the new action before implementing it; improvise without adapting, which means that they improvise exclusively driven by their will, without any disruption having led them to do so; or adapt by improvising a solution, which implies the temporal merger of design and execution. However, the literature has generally neglected the differences between these three processes. Building on the literature on team adaptation and team improvisation, we propose the team improv-adapt framework, which comprises the processes of team preemptive adaptation, team purposive improvisation, and team improvised adaptation. In addition, we develop a time-informed conceptual model that sheds light on how teams can effectively engage in different processes that require team or task adjustments. In particular, we focus on the different phases that teams go through over time, as they adopt the different processes of the framework. We also analyze the specific team processes that are adopted in each of the phases, as well as the different leadership sources and coordination mechanisms used. By acknowledging the defining nature of time in team processes, and exploring the temporal stream of team improvisation and team adaptation, we expand both literatures, increasing their construct clarity and extending their nomological network.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-132
JournalRevue Internationale de Psychosociologie et de Gestion des Comportements Organisationnels
Issue number70
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2021


  • Adaptation
  • Improvisation
  • Team
  • Theory
  • Time


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