In today’s climate of recurrent economic and financial crises, institutional instability, and sudden and dramatic geopolitical changes, the study of organizational resilience has become critical. Organizations and their members continuously confront a wide range of adverse events. While the majority of these events occur frequently, and trigger routine responses, others pose significant threats to organizational adaptation and survival. These severe adversities are experienced by individuals and organizations in terms of high stresses and strains. Scholars and practitioners report that the typical response to such pressures is a rigid one, characterized by the narrowing of knowledge sharing, the tightening of control, and conservation of resources. However, some individuals and organizations develop the ability to recover quickly from high-impact disruptions, and even to thrive in such conditions. Why some organizations and individuals exhibit a rigid, maladaptive response to adversity while others adapt and flourish remains uncertain.
The positive adjustments in responses to challenging situations have been studied under the concept of organizational resilience. Organizational resilience is not a fixed trait that can be deterministically found in some extraordinary individuals or organizations. Rather, it is a purposefully developed set of practices and processes that help individuals and organizations alike cope with adverse situations, emerging with a greater repertoire of skills and knowledge. While, developing organizational resilience does not guarantee that adverse situations will be overcome, it maximizes the probability of a successful adaptive resolution.
In the face of recurrent economic, political and financial crises, examining how individuals, groups, and/or organizations adapt and develop becomes critical. Studies of organizational resilience should also take into consideration the cognitive, behavioural and contextual dynamics that constitute resilient responses. Finally, this view of organizing resilience should focus not only on individual, group, and organizational practices, but also on aspects of resilience affecting the broader society.