Organizational Culture And Resilience:
Lessons From A Crisis
Organizational Resilience: the ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper.
British Standards Institute
As an organizational psychologist, I couldn’t help but wonder what we could learn about organizational agility and adaptability by analyzing different firms’ responses to the pandemic. I wrote about anecdotal evidence I observed in a previous Forbes.com article, “In A Crisis, Organizational Culture Matters,” that suggested that an organization’s culture makes a difference in how it adapts to a crisis. But because I’m also a data nerd, I would have preferred some hard data.
Fortunately, I have since been able to collaborate with colleagues at Denison Consulting, who, it turns out, were also wondering what could be learned from different organizations’ responses to the pandemic. Being survey researchers, they came up with a robust design to get at the facts. They developed a short resilience survey that was designed to gather employees’ perceptions about their company’s response to the crisis and offered the survey to their clients around the globe. I did likewise for several of my clients. Many of the participating companies had also previously completed an organizational culture assessment, so the study would not only delve into companies’ responses to the pandemic, but it would also determine how an organization’s culture influenced their crisis response.
The research is ongoing, but at this writing, we’ve been able to gather data from 36 organizations around the world (from 18 different industries) with over 15,000 respondents, enough for some meaningful insights.
The results of the survey were very informative and offered some valuable lessons.