Resilient organizations recognize and absorb the effects of stressful situations and experience positive outcomes despite such hardships. Olsson Center Fellow Jared Harris and Darden Ph.D. candidate Megan Hess explore the phenomenon of organizational resilience and extend current theory to explain its antecedent influences. Analysis suggests that resilience results not only from beliefs, processes, and structures that enable coping, as has been suggested by current theory, but also from the organization’s stance toward its stakeholders.
The study included a qualitative analysis of 150 small and medium-sized enterprises experiencing significant hardship and an in-depth description of the beliefs, processes, and structures. It was found that firms not only survive environmental adversity but also emerge strengthened. Evidence suggests that deeper engagement with stakeholders as a response to hardship may be correlated with firm growth. These findings extend our understanding of stakeholder theory by illustrating a concrete way in which stakeholder engagement can lead to firm resilience and success.