Organizational resilience: Is there evidence for what works to support business continuity?


The purpose of this presentation is to examine and critique the varied literature & commentary on sustaining organizational continuity and to determine if there is supporting evidence for what works. BP oil spill; Lehman Brothers; Wall Street meltdown; Apple’s IPhone, Amazon’s Kindle—whether the result of disaster, unexpected events or competition, recent events have highlighted the need for effectively dealing with situations that threaten continuity of operations (COOP) (Weick and Sutcliffe, 2007, p. ix)—that is, to be resilient. Most definitions emphasize resilience as the ability to ‘bounce back’ from difficulties: “the capability to rebound from a disaster …and return to normal functioning with little delay” (Chandra/RAND, p 2); “dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity” (Luther et al, p.543); “the ability to reinvent business models and strategies as circumstances change” (Hamel & Valikangas, 2003, p 53). Others focus on the need for proactive approaches: the ‘identification of potential risks, proactive steps, to ensure an organization thrives in the face of adversity” (Somers, 2009, pp 13+); creating “a rapid, flexible, innovative and effective response when a future crisis presents itself” (Boin and Lagadec, 2000, p 188). The analyses are connected to point(s) on a resilience continuum.Organizational Resilience: Is there Evidence for What Works to Support Business Continuity? Claudine SchWeber, Ph.D. Marcia Bouchard , DM University of Maryland University College April 14, 2011 1Business Continuity & Resilience • Continuity of operations (coop): “an institution’s ability to maintain or restore its business…when some circumstance threatens or disrupts normal operations” • Resilience perspectives: Content: Economic: “ability to reinvent business models and strategies as circumstances change” Process: Anticipatory: “Identification of potential risks, proactive steps to [enable survival]”; Crisis: ‘capability to rebound from disaster...and return to normal functioning’ 2Primary Focus of the literature • Individual • Community • Organization/ management 3Definitions --Examples • “…positive adaptation in any kind of dynamic system that comes under challenge or threat.” (Masten & Wright, 2009, p. 215) • “the capability to rebound from a disaster…and to return to normal functioning with little delay” (Chandra et al., 2010) • “capacity to cope with unanticipated dangers after they have become manifest…[learning to] bounce back” (Comfort, 1994, p. 158) 4What does the literature indicate about “what works” to promote business continuity? 5 Research Question Resilience Continuum 6 Anticipation (preparation) Management during event (response) Resilience (recovery) Thriving or Hyper – resilience (better off) Crisis: Trigger Event7 Method • Modified “Evidence-Based Research” (pioneered at Carnegie Mellon) • Literature search –57 sources: books or book chapters, scholarly articles, professional articles, dissertations, special reports/white papers. • Inclusion/exclusion criteria: 45 items remained • Analyzed resources—3 major themes: a) anticipation-preparation; b) leadership; c) communicationCon’t • Systematic review to “identify, acquire, extract and synthesize existing research studies” (Leseure et al, 2004, p. 14) • 57initial Sources = 9 books/chapters; 34 scholarly articles; 10 professional articles; 2 dissertations; 2 white papers 8Method step 1 • Key Word Searches--scholarly: 48 documents found for: (resilience and corporations) OR (resilience and firms) OR (resilience and corporation) OR (resilience and enterprises) OR (resilient firms) OR (resilient corporations) OR (resilient enterprises) and more…. Total = 57 9Method step 2–ResearchClassification 10Step 3:Exclusion/Inclusion Criteria • Exclusion: focused on individuals (i.e. child trauma, drug addiction); government entities; or had a narrow scope (e.g. supply chain); published before 1990 • Inclusion: focus on organizations; identifiable concepts related to resilience; referred to stage in continuum; published between 1990-2010. • N=45 11Step 4:Analysis by Major Themes 12Step 5: Literature Scoring 13Step 6: Literature Assessment 14Limitations • Modified EBR Method • Limited search to 57 original resources45 • Did not carry out scoring (step 5); assessment (step 6) • Limited direct attention to recovery stage 15What we learned Re What Works? Primary Focus: Anticipation-Preparation • Become a High Reliability Organization (HRO) • Develop a ‘culture of resilience’ • Responsibility of Senior Leadership: avoid ‘amnesia syndrome’; develop a ‘preoccupation with [potential] failure’; conduct resilience audits; take charge • Hire staff with experience (‘strategic hires’) 16What we learned (2) • Identify and develop ‘back-up’ systems: technology, other business locations, reserve fund. e.g. Xavier U and Hurricane Katrina—tech backup in California. • Delegate decision-making throughout organization; able to make decisions in ‘unfamiliar contexts’ (e.g. 9/11 and Morgan Stanley) 17What we learned (3) • Leadership, Communication Able to make decisions under pressure Develop and test BCM plans Communicate with various stakeholders, including the public (not just Board members)—early and often! Establish a communication management strategy, plan, resources and implementation, and continual review Plan for reputation management with stakeholders, media. 18Conclusion Organization resilience requires: Executive attention—commitment to a culture of resilience Avoidance of complacency (HRO) Periodic internal communication and readiness to implement external communication plan Identifying and critiquing lessons learned …Practice, Practice, Practice 19Further Research • Case analyses • Expand EBR process to include steps 5 (assessment criteria) and 6 (scoring) • Read and compare scholar and practitioner perspectives • Explore the ‘leadership’ issue more intensivelyThank You Comments/Questions Suggested resources using secondary literature: Please contact us at: 2

Similar works

Full text


University of Maryland University College: UMUC Digital Repository

Full text is not available time updated on 10/30/2019

Having an issue?

Is data on this page outdated, violates copyrights or anything else? Report the problem now and we will take corresponding actions after reviewing your request.