AskDefine | Define adaptability

Dictionary Definition

adaptability n : the ability to change or be changed to fit changed circumstances [ant: unadaptability]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The quality of being adaptable; a quality that renders adaptable.
  2. Variability in respect to, or under the influence of, external conditions; susceptibility of an organism to that variation whereby it becomes suited to or fitted for its conditions of environment; the capacity of an organism to be modified by circumstances.


The quality of being adaptable; a quality that renders adaptable
  • Finnish: sopeutuvuus, sopeutumiskyky
  • French: adaptabilité
  • Romanian: adaptabilitate
Variability in respect to, or under the influence of, external conditions
  • Romanian: adaptabilitate

Extensive Definition

Adaptability (lat.: adaptō = fit, matching) is a feature of a system or of a process.
This term can be used in different disciplines and business functions to describe organisational, technology and information systems.
Adadptability is now increasingly seen as an important factor for efficientcy and economic success of systems and processes. To determine the adaptability of a process or a system, it should be validated concerning some criteria.

Development of the use of this term

In the technical research field this feature is considered only since the late 1990s. Adaptability came up in the context of factory planning. Here it is considered as goal to develop modular, adaptable systems.
H. P. Wiendahl first brought up adaptability as a necessary feature of a manufacturing system in 1999. That is how adaptability has moved into the centre of interest of manufacturing and system engineers.
Adaptability can in general be seen as a ability to change something or oneself to fit to occurring changes .

Criteria of adaptability

Adaptability of a system

Adaptability is to be understood here as the ability of a system to adapt itself efficiently and fast to changed circumstances. An adaptive system is therefore an open system that is able to fit its behaviour according to changes in its environment or in parts of the system itself. That is why a requirement to recognise the demand for change without any other factors involved can be expressed


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