Reducing the impact of organisational silos on resilience

Tony Fenwick, Erica Seville, David Brunsdon

Resilient Organisations Research Report 2009/01 (PDF, 330kB)


Organisations need to perform effectively if they are to meet societal goals and expectations. This is especially important when adverse events arise, whatever the cause. Silos are organisational units where there is a breakdown in communication, co-operation and co-ordination with external parties. Silos can arise within organisations, a result of silo mentality. Or organisations themselves can become siloed if they unduly limit their connections with other organisations. Silos are often detrimental to the resilience of organisations and communities. Two definitions of resilience are suggested; one based on New Zealand research undertaken within the Resilient Organisations Research Programme and another from the UK that addresses resilience at both organisational and national levels. There is a need to improve the way that we manage silos in the interests of organisational and community resilience. How silos arise and what can be done about them to promote resilience is the topic of this report. Good internal management practices, together with bridge-building between organisations to improve collaboration, appear to be particular needs. Specific steps need to be taken where private incentives fall short of delivering all of the community’s resilience requirements. This report concludes by suggesting some points that need to be recognised to reduce the impact of silos on resilience.

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