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This book chapter is one of the most well-known publications on the concept of organisational resilience. When disruption hits organisations, many incline towards chaos and entropy. But chaos doesn’t always follow disruption. Sometimes organisations successfully adjust and strive, emerging stronger.


Instead of focussing on what characteristics organisations need to be resilient (see the first ISTARI Spotlight), this book chapter explain how organisations can organise to continually achieve desirable outcomes despite adversity, threats, and disruptions.



  • Back to the basics; what is resilience? Resilience is: “(1) the ability to absorb strain and preserve (or improve) functioning despite the presence of adversity. (2) an ability to recover or bounce back from untoward events"
  • In case you are interested where the concept of resilience comes from: the intellectual roots of organisational resilience come from psychology research on individuals who seemed to develop well despite facing stress.
  • Organisations can build resilience at the individual, group, and organisational level.
    • In individuals, resilience is a psychological trait that allows individuals to overcome hardship
    • In groups, resilience is built through accumulated knowledge, and diversity in the group
    • In organisations, resilience is a capability to deal with all kinds of disruption, be they industry changes, fires – or cyberattacks.
  • Organisations aiming to build resilience should foster their ability to learn, and most importantly to learn from failures and mistakes. In addition, they should be attentive towards unexpected threats before they spiral out of control
  • When disruption hits organisations, some respond with maladaptive processes, relying rigidly on overlearned routines, whereas others respond resiliently, behaving innovatively to solve the crisis.
  • The solution to responding to a disruption in a resilient way is to counteract maladaptive and rigid responses.


Why does this matter for businesses?

  • This chapter describes a higher-level order of organisational resilience. No matter what disaster, crisis, or adversity hits an organisation, a resilient organisation is able to absorb shocks, recover quickly, and thrive in response.
  • All of the contributors to organisational resilience that the book describes are useful for building cyber resilience. While building cyber resilience, organisations can build resilience for other kinds of disruptions, such as pandemics.


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