Science, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Dimitris G. Assimakopoulos, Ilan Oshri and Krsto Pandza
Chapter 16: Taming the waves of adversity: exploring the multidimensional construct of organizational resilience
Life is bound to transition and transformation. Day becomes night, death becomes birth, the caterpillar becomes the butterfly. However, alongside linear, gradual and typically predicted change, organizations – ever increasingly so – find themselves facing episodes of disruptive change, usually originating from sources that managers ‘don’t know that they don’t know’. Rapid economic, technological, social and political changes weave a web of effects that generate epistemological (imperfection of knowledge) and ontological (natural variation) uncertainty (Walker et al., 2003) that guarantees that ‘accidents’ and big failures will occur probably more frequently than managers would like to admit (Starbuck, 2009). However, it is not possible for organizations to plan for every disaster that could conceivably affect them (Mitroff and Alpaslan, 2003). What is of the essence in such cases is that organizations have developed the capability to react and overcome adversity by the means of buffering the damage, creatively adapting and, ultimately, capitalizing on the new reality once it manifests itself. Such a capacity is reflected in the construct of organizational resilience.
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