A study of the concept resilience and its impact on individuals and organisations during times of turbulence

Benade, Johannes Matthys (2000-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: New changes occur daily, but people cannot absorb the repercussions fast enough to keep pace. The capacity of the human mind for invention far outstrips its ability to assimilate the changes that inventions produce. What can be done? People are not going to stop creating new problems and opportunities. The question that arises from this situation is what role resilience plays in individuals and organisations, and how this can cause people in organisations to assimilate the ever-increasing rates of change, without suffering from its debilitating effects. Resilience can be defined as the capacity to absorb high levels of change, while displaying minimal dysfunctional behaviour. Resilience is the ability to not just survive change, but to actually bounce back stronger than before its challenge (Conner, 1992: 6). In observing how people respond to the stress produced by the crisis of change, Conner (1992: 232) found two common reactions in his research. While one person tends to see primarily dangerous implications, the other typically focuses on the promise of new opportunities. Research shows that Type-O people have the following characteristics: • display a sense of security and self-assurance that is based on their view of life as complex but filled with opportunity (positive); • have a clear vision of what they want to achieve (focused); • demonstrate a special pliability when responding to uncertainty (flexible); • develop structured approaches to managing ambiguity (organised); • engaged change rather than defend against it (proactive) Is it possible to develop a person's or a group's resilience? Given the debilitating results of people who experience dysfunctional behaviour and the effect it has on the organisation's productivity and quality standards necessitates that managers should be able to manage and develop resilience.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Organisasies bevind hulle daagliks binne 'n veranderende omgewing. Die probleem wat onstaan is dat die werknemers nie die gevolge van die verandering vinnig genoeg kan absorbeer ten einde in pas te bly nie. Die kapasiteit van die mens om te innoveer is groter as sy vermoë om die veranderings te assimileer wat as gevolg van die innovasies ontstaan. Wat kan gedoen word? Die mens gaan nie ophou om nuwe geleenthede en probleme te skep nie. Die vraag wat onstaan is wat is die rol wat veerkragtigheid (resilience) kan speel by individuee en organisasies wat veroorsaak dat individuee en organisasies die toenemende verandering kan assimileer sonder om gebug te gaan onder die negatiewe gevolge van die veranderings. Veerkragtigheid (resilience) kan gedefinieer word as die vermoë om hoë vlakke van verandering te kan absorbeer terwyl minimale simptome van disfunksionele gedrag getoon word. Veerkragtigheid word ook gedefinieer as die vermoë om deur die verandering te gaan en sterker anderkant uit te kom. In sy waarneming hoe mense reageer op die spanning wat veroorsaak word deur die krisis wat verandering veroorsaak het Conner (1992: 232) in sy navorsing twee reaksies geidentifiseer. Terwyl die een persoon primêr gevaar sien in die situasie, is die ander persoon geneig om eerder te fokus op die moontlikheid van nuwe geleenthede. Navorsing dui daarop dat geleentheids georienteerde persone vyf basiese kenmerke van veerkragtigheid (resilience) het: • vertoon 'n sin vir sekuriteit en self versekerdheid wat gebaseer is op hulle siening van die lewe as kompleks maar vol geleenthede (positief); • het 'n duidelike visie van dit wat hulle wil bereik (gefokus); • demonstreer 'n spesiale buigbaarheid in tye van onsekerheid (buigbaarheid); • ontwikkel gestruktureerde benaderings om twyfelagtigheid te bestuur (georganiseerd); raak betrokke by verandering eerder as om dit te vermy (proaktief) Is dit moontlik om 'n individu of groep se veerkragtigheid(resilience) te verhoog? Gegewe die vernietigende gevolge van mense wat disfunksionele gedrag ervaar tydens tye van verandering en die effek wat dit het op die produktiwiteit en kwaliteit standaarde van die organisasie, noodsaak dat bestuurders instaat moet wees om verkragtigheid te bestuur en te ontwikkel.

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