May the force be with you: Antecedents and consequences of organizational resilience
Organizations have to strive in an uncertain and challenging environment, that is a fact. Then, why some organizations not only survive but emerge stronger, whereas others do not? In other words, why some organizations are resilient whereas others are not? Which are the factors that make the difference? Organizational resilient has an impact on performance? These are some of the questions that we tried to clarify in the study “How to emerge stronger: Antecedents and consequences of organizational resilience”. During many years resilience has been considered as a trait that people and organizations have it or not. But the recent approach in the study of resilience considers it as a capacity employee have (which is promoted and supported by the organization) to use resources to positively cope, adapt and thrive in response to changing work circumstances. Moreover resilience comes not just from the dynamic capacity employees have to absorb stress but also from their ability to learn and grow from adversity to emerge even stronger than before. Therefore, it is of vital interest for organizations to know how to contribute to increasing the resilience capacity of their employees and the organization. Theoretically there are some clues about which factors can contribute to resilience and also the consequences. However, since this is a growing topic of interest, more empirical support is needed to prove what exactly can do organizations to build resilience within them and which is the relationship with firm performance.
First, regarding the resilience antecedents, it seems that the perception employees have that their employer provides resources to them and gives them opportunities to develop, helps them build a sense of resourcefulness and resilience. Accordingly, in this study we extended research in this field by proposing that a supportive employee work environment, based on responsible, ethical and protective human resource management practices -namely corporate social responsibility for employees- enhances organizational resilience. So, human resources corporate practices in terms of providing support to employees in organizations (e.g., employee safety, job security, profit-sharing, employee participation, treating employees fairly and equitably, etc.) could be an effective way of increasing employee resources and capabilities, and thus developing organizational resilience. Therefore, in our study we analyse the role corporate social responsibility towards employees (CSRE) plays in the promotion of resilience at work. On the other hand, talking about the consequences of resilience, empirically there are controversial studies about the direct effect of resilience on performance. So in our study we empirically show that CSRE had a positive influence on organizational resilience, which in turn affected firm performance via organizational learning capability. Resilient organizations develop a kind of strength that enables them to learn from adversity, and this is the role of organizational learning capability. So how resilient organizations link to performance is explained by the fact that organizations can learn from overcoming obstacles and facing adversity turning to an improvement of firm performance.
Although there is still much research to be done on the antecedents of organizational resilience and its consequences, our study marks a step forward in showing the human-side of building organizational resilience, beyond financial and technologic resources. We really believe that practices linked to employee welfare make a difference in building a resilient atmosphere in the organization that in turn may lead to better firm performance by means of improving the organizational learning capability.
Read the full article ‘How to emerge stronger: Antecedents and consequences of organizational resilience‘ published in Journal of Management & Organization