Conceptualising adaptive resilience using grounded theory

V. Nilakant, B. Walker, K. van Heugten, R. Baird and H. de Vries

New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations 39(1): 79-86 (2014)


We present the initial findings from a study of adaptive resilience of lifelines organisations providing essential infrastructure services, in Christchurch, New Zealand following the earthquakes of2010-2011.Qualitative empirical data was collected from 200 individuals in 11 organisations. Analysis using a grounded theory method identified four major factors that aid organisational response, recovery and renewal following major disruptive events. Our data suggest that quality of top and middle-level leadership, quality of external linkages, level of internal collaboration, ability to learn from experience, and staff well-being and engagement influence adaptive resilience. Our data also suggest that adaptive resilience is a process or capacity, not an outcome and that it is contextual. Post-disaster capacity/resources and post-disaster environment influence the nature of adaptive resilience.

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