Sub-Theme 16: Defining Strategic and Organizational Resilience: Theoretical and Empirical Groundings
Aalto University School of Business and Hanken School of Economics, Finland
Aalto University School of Business, Finland
Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland
Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom
Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
Call for papers
Frequent calls for resilience in times of turbulence and uncertainty remind organizations of the pressing need to develop or maintain a capacity to recover and bounce back from, or even resist, looming crises. The notion of strategic resilience suggests the ability to change without a crisis or trauma (Hamel & Välikangas, 2003), which indicates a capacity, developed and deployed over time, to adapt not only once (“unfreeze-change-freeze”, see e.g. Burnes (2004)) but continuously. While the concept of strategic resilience has evident appeal in terms of a large number of academic citations and managerial applications, it is still loosely defined and would benefit from further exploration and development. We join recent calls to advance research on organizational resilience that suggest directions for research, including developing further the strategic approach to becoming resilient (Annarelli & Nonino, 2016). The purpose of this sub-theme is to empirically explore and ground the concept theoretically.
Prior literature suggests that resources, and practices pertaining to them, are important dimensions of strategic resilience. The shifting of resources from the overfunding of legacy strategies to the exploration of alternatives may require entrepreneurial traits that indicate a capacity for resilience (Hussels, Koryak, Reinmoeller, & Tobias, 2014). While a charismatic or resilient leader or founder may enhance strategic resilience, our main interest is in the organizational strategies that allow companies to be proactive in changing. This capacity may relate to the anticipation of resource constraints as opportunities to stimulate resourcefulness and imagination (Gibbert & Välikangas, 2004), to organizational ingenuity through imaginative recombination of resources as well as slack and constraints thereof (Dolmans, van Burg, Reymen, & Romme, 2014; Korhohen & Välikangas, 2014) or to the generation of diverse innovation strategies (Reinmoeller & Baardwijk, 2005).
In recent years, specific practices such as perspective taking (e.g., Boland & Tenkasi, 1995), mindfulness (e.g., Fiol & O’Connor, 2003) or corporate blogging (e.g., Lee, Hwang, & Hong-Hee, 2006) have received much attention. How these and other practices can raise resilience – not only at individual or group levels – is not yet well understood.
Contemporary changes such as the emergence of open and distributed forms of organizing (e.g., O’Mahony & Ferraro, 2007; von Hippel & von Krogh, 2003) emphasize the relevance of resource fluidity, or the growing detachment of people, capital and other factors from stable organizational relationships. Resource fluidity may require imaginative improvisational and organizational skills, for instance found in collective creativity unfolding in time (e.g., Hargadon & Bechky, 2006) where groups of professionals seek solutions to a problem and generate creative disruptions from the established order. Such shared action represents an increasingly important way to create change and renewal proactively and collectively.
In similar vein, organizational improvisation (e.g., Hadida, Tarvainen, & Rose, 2015) and the learning of resource creativity from artistic and emergent practices (e.g., Furu, 2013) may help in understanding and analyzing complex and dynamic situations, which cannot be understood a priori or managed using existing routines, and that demand flexible and extemporaneous action. These may offer a novel take to understanding the meaning and impact of resource fluidity, where resources are reassembled and recombined.
For this sub-theme, we invite empirical and theoretical papers that address the theoretical foundations and empirical manifestations of strategic and organizational resilience, seeking to further our understanding of what makes organizations capable of changing without a crisis. We hope that the discussion enhances both theory building and management practice.
Annarelli, A., & Nonino, F. (2016). Strategic and operational management of organizational resilience: Current state of research and future directions. Omega, 62, 1–18.
Boland, R. J., & Tenkasi, R. V. (1995). Perspective Making and Perspective Taking in Communities of Knowing. Organization Science, 6(4), 350–372.
Burnes, B. (2004). Kurt Lewin and the Planned Approach to Change: A Re-appraisal. Journal of Management Studies, 41(6), 977–1002.
Dolmans, S. A. M., van Burg, E., Reymen, I. M. M. J., & Romme, A. G. L. (2014). Dynamics of Resource Slack and Constraints: Resource Positions in Action. Organization Studies, 35(4), 511–549.
Fiol, C. M., & O’Connor, E. J. (2003). Waking up! Mindfulness in the Face of Bandwagons. The Academy of Management Review, 28(1), 54–70.
Furu, P. (2013). The art of collaborative leadership in jazz bands. In J. Caust (Ed.), Arts leadership: International case studies (pp. 210–223). Tilde University Press.
Gibbert, M., & Välikangas, L. (2004). Boundaries and innovation: Special Issue Introduction by the Guest Editors. Long Range Planning, 37(6), 495–504.
Hadida, A. L., Tarvainen, W., & Rose, J. (2015). Organizational Improvisation: A Consolidating Review and Framework. International Journal of Management Reviews, 17(4), 437–459.
Hamel, G., & Välikangas, L. (2003). The Quest for Resilience. Harvard Business Review, 81(9), 52–63.
Hargadon, A. B., & Bechky, B. A. (2006). When Collections of Creatives Become Creative Collectives: A Field Study of Problem Solving at Work. Organization Science, 17(4), 484–500.
Hussels, S., Koryak, O., Reinmoeller, P., & Tobias, J. (2014). Weathering the storms: Unpacking Entrepreneurs’ Resilience Using Repertory Grid Technique. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2014(1), 17642.
Korhohen, J., & Välikangas, L. (2014). Constraints and ingenuity: the case of Outokumpu and the development of flash smelting in the copper industry. In B. Honig, J. Lampel, & I. Drori (Eds.), Handbook of Organizational and Entrepreneurial Ingenuity. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Lee, S., Hwang, T., & Hong-Hee, L. (2006). Corporate blogging strategies of the Fortune 500 companies. Management Decision, 44(3), 316–334.
O’Mahony, S., & Ferraro, F. (2007). The Emergence of Governance in an Open Source Community. The Academy of Management Journal, 50(5), 1079–1106.
Reinmoeller, P., & Baardwijk, N. van. (2005). The Link Between Diversity and Resilience. MIT Sloan Management Review; Cambridge, 46(4), 61.
von Hippel, E., & von Krogh, G. (2003). Open Source Software and the “Private-Collective” Innovation Model: Issues for Organization Science. Organization Science, 14(2), 209–223.