Organizational Resilience: Critical Reflections on Theory and Research



Martina’s talk offers a critical reflection on research on organizational resilience. Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of resilience has received substantial attention, and has often been termed as the panacea that would allow individuals, organizations, and society to recover from and thrive despite facing significant adversity. While resilience is certainly a useful lens for theorising responses to adversity, some research has started to voice frustrations with the tendencies of mainstream work to focus largely on the positive outcomes of resilience, while neglecting more critical discussions. Indeed, evidence shows that resilience alone is not always leading to desirable organisational and societal outcomes across contexts. The talk examines contexts in which resilience might lead to unintended consequences, rigidity, and trade-offs; for instance, highly resilient individuals, organisations and institutions might inhibit and resist change, and create difficult ethical circumstances that in themselves might be the source of adverse outcomes. The talk concludes with thoughts about further research in this area.

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