Recent years have become a challenging time for both the private and public sectors. The shock triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations in an incredibly short time to change their established order. In addition, it also forced them to gain new skills to operate in different conditions than usual, and show leadership that thinks outside the box and dictates new, as yet unknown trends.
With the economic slowdown, most organizations have suffered and continue to suffer huge losses and are trying to return to pre-pandemic levels. However, the recovery path is difficult and even harder to predict. Discussions now center on trying to uncover the reasons why some organizations are moving forward successfully while others are finding it more difficult to do so. In February 2021, the European Council adopted a regulation establishing an economic recovery and resilience facility, a basis of the EU's economic recovery plan. According to this plan, € 672.5-billion Euros worth of grants and loans will be allocated for public investments and reforms in the 27-member states to help them combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, promote green and digital transformation and build resilient and inclusive societies.
Investment and recovery assistance are welcome, but is that enough? Does the additional funding guarantee the ability of organizations to develop their activities sustainably in the long run? In order to answer these questions, there is an increasing focus on research on the resilience of organizations, based on the premise that crises, shocks and unplanned threats are a natural part of economic development, so it is important not only to focus on how to protect oneself from difficult situations, but also to be always prepared to develop the capacity to foster such organizational abilities, which help to adapt to a changed environment after having experienced such shocks or threats and to use the experience as a driving force to return to daily activities for a unique competitive advantage. It is possible to distinguish two preconditions for the existence of resilience in organizations. First, resilient organizations are characterized by weighted caution when the moment of success is considered not a result of coincidence, but as a result of careful, diligent preventive preparation. Second, even in continuing difficult situations, resilient organizations continuously strive to improve. The day-to-day activities of these organizations are based on the belief that they are far from perfect and can only come closer to the goal by learning from existing or potential threats.
World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development Dr. Juergen Voegele is convinced that investment must be focused on resilience – on resilient infrastructure, resilient systems, on creation of resilient organizations and societies with long-term sustainability. According to the World Bank, every dollar invested in resilience carries a return of four dollars profit, but these investments require a new approach. An organization doesn’t just become resilient. It is connected with continuous learning, strengthening abilities not only to recover from shocks, but also to bounce forward. In order to acquire these capabilities, the organization must constantly monitor the existing situation, properly evaluate risks, have a management plan and resources that will allow timely and appropriate response and prevention of threats. If they do occur, to be prepared to manage them.
In order to assess the level of resilience of organizations in Lithuania, Mykolas Romeris University postdoctoral fellow Dr. Ilona Bartuševičienė, led by habilitated doctor, Professor Ona Gražina Rakauskienė, will conduct research. It’s based on the adapted “Resilient Organizations Ltd” researchers’ from New Zealand organizational resilience benchmarking tool. This tool is designed to assess the resilience of organizations, monitor progress over time, and the strengths and weaknesses of resilience compared to organizations in the sector or of similar size. The results of this project are important not only for the development of scientific knowledge about resilience, but also on a practical level. During the research, heads or organizations and their employees will be interviewed to identify the relationships that determine the resilience of the organization, and to find out what determines the success of an organization.
The research is carried out within the framework of the project, "Organizational Resilience Assessment Model (Bounce Forward)" No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-19-0218.
This research was financed by funds from the European Social Fund, according to project No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-19-0218 “Academics, other researchers, students’ research competency development through research activities”. The project is jointly financed from funds of the European Social Fund according to an agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT).