Benchmark resilience: A study of the resilience of organisations in the Auckland region

Amy Stephenson, Erica Seville, John Vargo, Derek Roger

Resilient Organisations Research Report 2010/03b - updated version

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to provide an interim summary of the results of the Benchmark Resilience research project for the Auckland region. A more detailed analysis of the results will be included in Amy Stephenson’s final Ph.D. thesis which is due for completion in August 2010. This thesis will be made available on our website once it has been examined. Organisational and community resilience are two sides of the same coin; without resilient organisations a community will be less resilient. Organisational resilience is the ability of an organisation to survive, and potentially even thrive in an environment of change and uncertainty. Resilient organisations are able to monitor their internal and external environment for changes which helps them to continuously adapt before the case for change becomes critical to their survival and continuity. Despite the benefits of being resilient, organisations often struggle to prioritise resilience and to link resilience to disaster with resilience during business as usual. The purpose of this research is to develop a web-based organisational resilience measurement and benchmarking tool which can provide organisations with information to help make a business case for resilience. Initial results from this research indicate a positive relationship between organisational resilience and indicators of business performance. In total 249 individuals from 68 Auckland organisations took part in this research. Encouraging organisations to take part was a significant challenge, particularly given that a random selection of organisations from throughout the region were invited to participate. Targeting organisations with an existing interest in resilience, or only sampling larger organisations likely to have a dedicated risk manager, would have probably generated a higher response rate. However, it would not have been a representative sample of the organisational community that exists within the Auckland region, as was sought for this study. The most common reasons for not taking part in the research included not having enough time or resources, already struggling to survive, and a feeling that their organisation was too small or unimportant to invest in its resilience. This suggests that many of the organisations that were contacted struggle to address long term issues and have little redundancy or capacity to absorb extra workloads. Through this research, a new model of organisational resilience has been developed, consisting of 13 indicators grouped into 2 dimensions; planning and adaptive capacity. Descriptors for each of the resilience indicators are given in the appendix of this report. The Benchmark Resilience tool provides organisations with a tool for evaluating their resilience strengths and weaknesses for each of these indicators, and for benchmarking how they compare to other organisations of a similar size or in a similar sector.

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