Benchmarking the resilience of organisations

Benchmarking the resilience of organisations

Amy Stephenson

University of Canterbury, PhD thesis 2011

Abstract

Our world is more technologically advanced and interdependent, risks are increasingly shared across local, regional and national boundaries and we are more culturally diverse than ever before. As a result, communities are increasingly confronted with emergencies and crises which challenge their social and economic stability. To be resilient, communities rely on services and employment provided by organisations, to enable them to plan for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and crises. However organisational and community resilience are two sides of the same coin; if organisations are not prepared to respond to emergencies and crises, communities too are not prepared. Resilient organisations are also better poised to develop competitive advantage. However despite the potential business and performance rewards of becoming more resilient, organisations struggle to prioritise resilience and to allocate resources to resilience, which could be put to more immediate use. To enable organisations to invest in their resilience, the business case for resilience must be better than the case for new equipment or new staff. This thesis develops a methodology and survey tool for measuring and benchmarking organisational resilience. Previous qualitative case study research is reviewed and operationalised as a resilience measurement tool. The tool is tested on a random sample of Auckland organisations and factor analysis is used to further develop the instrument. The resilience benchmarking methodology is designed to guide organisations’ use of the resilience measurement tool and its incorporation into business-as-usual continuous improvement. Significant contributions of this thesis include a new model of organisational resilience, the resilience measurement tool, and the resilience benchmarking methodology. Together these outputs translate the concept of resilience for organisations and provide information on resilience strengths and weaknesses that enable them to proactively address their resilience and to develop a business case for resilience investment.

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