Organizational Resilience

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Description of Organizational Resilience. Explanation.




Definition Organizational Resilience. Description.

Organizational Resilience is the ability and capacity of a corporation to withstand potential significant economic / systemic risk or systematic discontinuities or business interruption, by adapting or recovering or resisting being affected and resuming its (core) operations to continue to provide an acceptable level of functioning and structure.

A resilient organization is able to adapt and align its strategy, operations, management systems, governance structure, supply chain, etc, quickly to significantly changing environments. Compare: Organizational Absorption, Organizational Agility.

According to Gary Hamel, Strategic Resilience is not about responding to a onetime crisis or about rebounding from a setback. It is about continuously anticipating and adjusting to trends that can permanently alter the earning power of a core business, before the case for change has become desperately obvious.

How to build a resilient organization?

Building a resilient organization is important to be able to withstand from shocks and discontinuities, however the task of doing so is not an easy one. White (2013) outlines four steps that can be taken in the introduction of resilience in organizations:

  1. Secure senior leadership support: Organizational resilience starts with leaders who understand and support the concept, both at an individual and an organizational level. This can be created through sharing studies on the extent to which organizational resilience increase efficiency, productivity, agility and well-being workforce. But it is also critical to develop resilient leaders, because it helps them to better understand and support the benefits or organizational resilience.
  2. Develop safe and secure work communities: A stressful and constrained workplace create an environment in which employees try to focus only on their work, thereby compart-mentalizing their real selves. But, because it is practically impossible to leave ones emotions and personalities at home, the development of safe and secure work communities are critical in the development of more efficient, happier and higher-performing organizations.
  3. Support all employees to adopt the following 'tips' that enhance individual resiliency:
    • Start with the most important activity with a break after 90 minutes. This will increase productivity.
    • Keep a running list on what is on your mind. This is important because memories have only limited capacity. Writing down will free your mind and increase space for what is most important.
    • Constantly reflect on yourself
    • Systematically train your attention through for example reading books
    • At the end of the day, identify the most important objectives of the following day.
    • Monitoring your mood. This is important as emotions influence the degree of responsiveness and reflection of an employee. Negative emotions are often related to more impulsive and reactive behaviour.
  4. Empower the workforce to build resilience through the rules and policies within an organization: There is not one specific way to empower employees to build resilience. Rather, this process can take several forms. For example, the employee could be given allowance to take certain breaks that they can use to revitalize and calm down. Another example is the combination of work and enjoyment through for example walking meetings. It is about the creation of a workspace that enables employees to do their work while retaining their well-being.

Using a Business Interruption Insurance, companies can protect themselves against the loss of income after events (disasters) that temporarily interrupt business operations.

Source: White, M. (2013) Building a Resilient Organizational Culture UNC Kenan  Flagler Business School
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