Bottom-of-the-table Sunderland have three games in hand over Norwich, meaning that their Premier League fate is out of their own control, and the board have decided to act in an attempt to retain their top-flight status.
"The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Chris Hughton, Colin Calderwood and Paul Trollope for all of their hard work on behalf of the club since they took over in June 2012," read a statement on the club's official website.
"Chris's achievement in guiding City to an 11th-place finish in the Premier League last season was an excellent one and he has represented the club with dignity throughout his tenure.
"However the recent run of four defeats in our last six Premier League games and six consecutive away league defeats, left the club with no choice but to act, with five games still to play in the current campaign."
Adams, 48, will take charge of the team for the first time in a crucial relegation battle against Fulham at Craven Cottage next Saturday before matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.