Building resilience: how to have a positive impact at the organizational and individual employee level

Erica Seville, 2018

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal  DOI: 10.1108/DLO-09-2017-0076



At some time during its life, every organization will face some form of disruptive crisis. Be it a natural disaster, a reputational crisis, problems within the supply chain, or an issue affecting its people, organizational crises happen more often than we think. In today’s world of change and uncertainty, an organization needs core resilience capabilities to survive. This paper aims to set out three pillars for organizational resilience, identify the questions that leaders need to ask themselves about employee readiness, and offer ten practical ways in which leaders can help their teams to respond effectively in times of disruptive change.


This paper draws from a variety of sources of research, including the author’s own that tracked businesses’ rates, speed, and quality of recovery following the 2010/2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand.


When an organization is put under pressure, it is their people and how they come together that can make or break the organization. The prevailing culture and the behaviour and capabilities of leaders can enhance or erode the resilience of all employees.


Resilience is an aspect of organizational life that is becoming ever more critical but research is still scarce. The advice contained in this paper is based on research and offers grounded advice on how leaders can support and enable their teams to survive and thrive in the VUCA world in which organizations now operate.

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