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The building blocks of organizational resilience: a review of the empirical literature

Kijan Vakilzadeh (Human Resource Management and Organization Studies, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany)
Alexander Haase (Human Resource Management and Organization Studies, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany)

Continuity & Resilience Review

ISSN: 2516-7502

Article publication date: 26 October 2020

Issue publication date: 20 April 2021

937

Abstract

Purpose

Resilience is critical for organizations in today's volatile business environment, yet some will survive (and even thrive) despite adversity, while others will perish. Why do some organizations handle adversity better than others? The past literature confirms the importance of specific resources, capabilities and structures in dealing with adversity. However, empirical research on organizational resilience remains highly diverse, and the available results have not yet been presented succinctly.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review of empirical research on organizational resilience was conducted to summarize the diverse findings of 69 studies, focusing on the factors that lead to resilience.

Findings

Several building blocks affect how organizations successfully anticipate, cope with and adapt to adversity. Anticipation entails environmental scanning, resilience plans, specific leadership behavior and resources. Coping necessitates particular leadership qualities, a certain organizational culture and innovation. Adaptation requires an organization to learn from adversity and initiate change processes, which influences its ability to anticipate adversity in the long run.

Originality/value

By exclusively analyzing empirical research on organizational resilience, this study summarizes and assembles the results into building blocks for organizational resilience. The findings elaborate on the composition of a concept that is known for its complexity.

Keywords

Citation

Vakilzadeh, K. and Haase, A. (2021), "The building blocks of organizational resilience: a review of the empirical literature", Continuity & Resilience Review, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/CRR-04-2020-0002

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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