How to design for resilience, and how do organizations manifest resilience in organizational designs during global crises?
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed resilience as a neglected organizational capability despite decades of research in different but related disciplinary fields ranging from psychology to ecology, from safety engineering to organization studies and management.
What is resilience?
Holling (1996) drew a distinction between resilience that is about the functional efficiency of a system or an organization (called engineering resilience) and resilience that is about its survival (called ecological resilience). He further noted that resilience is found only in dynamic responses to extraordinary challenges, not in the everyday adaptation of organizations (March, 1981), which may mask latent or potential resilience or lack thereof (Fenema & Romme, 2020, Linnenluecke and Griffith, 2010).
How is resilience manifest?
Some authors focus on a bounce back to event- preceding conditions as a sign of operational resilience (Wildawski, 1988). Others emphasize the improvisation of timely strategic responses amidst external chaos (Lengnick-Hall et al. 2011) and without undergoing trauma (Hamel & Välikangas, 2003). Resilience is then observable in the capacity of an organization to transform itself to remain competitive or legitimate in the abruptly changing external environment. Such resilience may be enabled by fungible slack resources or flexible cognitive routines to fashion solutions out of collective, transactive memory. It may derive from particular qualities in organizational relationships, or it may be a matter of serendipity and luck – making it to the right place the right time. Resilience may also have an internal quality, such as mindfulness (Weick and Sutcliffe, 2001) which may mean preventing disruptions including accidents. The dynamic nature of resilience is evidenced in the organization transforming itself or it may be – in Karl Weick’s words – a dynamic non-event: the status quo prevails.
A number of case studies (e.g. Perrow, 2011, Vaughn, 1986, Majchrzak et al, 2007, Stevenson, 2014) have discussed adaptation to potentially catastrophic external disruptions. What is the record of organizations and their designs in a global pandemic beyond the luck of benefitting from a business that is in particular demand, or being able to ramp up to the needs of the suddenly skyrocketing market? Where do we find resilience in the current landscape of organizations and why (Van der Vegt et al 2015)? What organizational designs show resilience under crisis (for an integrative view, see Williams et al, 2007)? An interesting example of studying resilience of complex organizations from different theoretical perspectives is the debate between Charles Perrow and Nancy Leveson who scrutinized each other’s work from a sociological and engineering perspective, respectively relating to the nature and designs of resilience and safety (see for example Marais et al, 2004, Leveson et al, 2009, Leveson, 2011, Perrow, 1981).
It is not clear whether resilience pinpoints to a single or multiple phenomena.What is potentially adding to the confusion are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, such as agility, robustness, or anti-fragility. What unites the resilience scholars and practitioners is the focus on the challenge of responding to unpredictable Black Swan type events that can precipitously obsolete existing competitive strategy or organizational functionality and distort the organization’s capacity to recognize that returning to old normal is not an option (Grandori, 2020; Välikangas & Lewin, 2020).
Special Issue aims and scope
The intent of this Special Issue is not to limit resilience to any singular format or framework or to seek an ultimate or unassailable dominant design definition. We acknowledge that resilience can stem from many wellsprings and it may be manifest in multiple ways. This should not be surprising, given the scientific roots of the term being located in a multitude of disciplines, with cross-overs and interpretations. We thus call for papers that consider and accept equifinality of capabilities underlying resilience anchored in various theoretical lenses in the context of studying organizations. For example, we welcome multi-method studies on the expressions of organizational resilience in collective learning, organizational ambidexterity, open innovation, garbage can processes and outcomes, capabilities for recognizing emergence, leadership, or deploying and repurposing advanced technologies. How do particular theoretical perspectives enable or negate organizational resilience and how is such theorization empirically manifest? We invite diverse submissions that take specific or a fusion of theoretical perspectives and consider how the particular perspective(s) might anchor resilience, coupled with an empirical qualitative or quantitative study. Where is resilience manifest in organizations and their designs and to what performative effect?How do organizations learn from failing to be resilient?
The Special Issue is proposed as a forum for exploring resilience from multitude of theoretical perspectives under extraordinary circumstances such as the current global pandemic. We encourage exchange across theoretical, or even disciplinary boundaries in the best tradition of resilience studies, as long as the discussion is related to organizations and their designs for resilience. To aid such exchanges, we will assemble reviewers from multiple disciplinary backgrounds to provide commentaries on the published articles.
Linking Design and Emergence: Structure, Culture, and Networks in Organizations
The informal elements of an organization (such as its culture and social networks) and its formal elements (like structure and incentives) are known to jointly shape organizational behavior and performance. However, the links between the two are less understood: How does structure shape culture and informal social networks, and vice versa?
The Journal of Organization Design welcomes submissions to a new special collection of articles focused on “Linking Design and Emergence: Structure, Culture, and Networks in Organizations.”
Aims and scope
This collection aims to curate cutting-edge thinking on this topic which is relevant to both research and practice. Possible research questions that reflect the scope of the collection include, but are not limited to:
The Journal of Organization Design publishes various article types, including research papers, research primers, translationals, case studies, and “point of view” papers, all of which can be submitted to this collection. Please refer to the journal home page for Submission Guidelines pertaining to each article type, as well as examples of published work.
The Journal of Organization Design’s special collection on “Linking Design and Emergence: Structure, Culture, and Networks in Organizations” will be guest-edited by Srikanth Paruchuri (Lead Guest Editor), Micki Eisenman, and Phanish Puranam.
Srikanth Paruchuri is an Associate Professor at Smeal College of Business at the Pennsylvania State University. He studies how informal organizations shape firm innovation processes and outcomes. His studies specifically focus on intra-organizational networks as a form of informal organization.
Micki Eisenman is a Senior Lecturer in the Organizational Behavior and Strategy groups at the Hebrew University’s Jerusalem School of Business Administration and the Director of the Asper Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Her research applies a constructivist perspective that examines how new meanings emerge in the context of firms’ innovation efforts. In other work, she has examined how organizations communicate by using aesthetic design.
Phanish Puranam is the Roland Berger Chair Professor of Strategy and Organization Design at INSEAD. He studies organizations as systems of aggregation, using a micro-structural perspective. His current research focuses on alternatives to hierarchy, how to design the informal organization, and how algorithms are shaping organizations.
Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read all submission guidelines on http://jorgdesign.springeropen.com. Then, submit via Editorial Manager at http://www.editorialmanager.com/jood by the 31 October deadline.
To ensure your paper is considered for this collection, please answer "yes" when asked whether you are planning to submit to a special collection and select the title from the drop-down menu. In addition, indicate within your cover letter that you wish your manuscript to be considered as part of this collection.
All submissions will undergo rigorous double-blind peer review and accepted articles will be published. For questions regarding the content of this collection, please contact one of the guest editors.
Journal of Organization Design Editors-in-Chief
Download the Call for Papers here.
Corporate Headquarters in the 21st Century
The Journal of Organization Design welcomes submissions to a new article collection focused on 'Corporate Headquarters in the 21st Century.'
However, recent changes in corporations’ internal and external environments challenge extant knowledge about the CHQ and call for new research. First, the changing nature of modern corporations (Davis, 2016) suggests a need to rethink the roles and functions of the CHQ. For example, blurring firm boundaries and the rise of ecosystems can be expected to influence the nature and design of the CHQ. Second, novel CHQ forms are emerging, such as more dispersed and disaggregated CHQ, second homes, and even virtual headquarters. Finally, as technologies, automation, and artificial intelligence are increasingly penetrating businesses, we have to rethink the nature of CHQ work. For example, while information technology can be expected to reduce information-processing costs, it also enables the CHQ to take on new tasks, such as data analytics. In sum, these examples illustrate the need for a collective effort to revisit the functioning and design of the CHQ in the modern corporation.
Formal and informal design
People and staffing
Tools and practices
Technology and resources
The Journal of Organization Design publishes various article types, including research papers, research primers, translational, case studies, organization zoo, and points of view, all of which can be submitted to this special collection. Please refer to the journal home page for Submission Guidelines pertaining to each article type, as well as examples of published work.
Journal of Organization Design Advisory Editors
Download the Call for Papers here.
Fading Hierarchies and the Emergence of New Forms of Organization
The Journal of Organization Design welcomes submissions to a new article collection focused on 'Fading Hierarchies and the Emergence of New Forms of Organization.'
Topics can include, but are not limited to, the following:
JOOD publishes numerous article types including research papers, case studies, urgent issues, and points of view, all of which can be submitted to this collection.
Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the Instructions for Authors for the Journal of Organization Design. The complete manuscript should be submitted through the Journal of Organization Design submission system. To ensure your paper is considered for this Collection, please answer "yes" when asked whether you are planning to submit to a thematic series, and select the Collection name from the drop-down menu. In addition, indicate within your cover letter that you wish your manuscript to be considered as part of the 'Fading Hierarchies and the Emergence of New Forms of Organization' Collection. All submissions will undergo rigorous double-blind peer review and accepted articles will be published at no cost to the author.
To be edited by:
Submissions will benefit from the following advantages of Open Access publication:
For editorial queries, please contact this journal's Development Editor, Erica Gordon-Mallin.
Sign up for article alerts and news from this journal to keep updated on articles published in Journal of Organization Design - including articles published in this Special Collection.
Designing and Managing the Digital Organization
The Journal of Organization Design (JOD) welcomes submissions to the new thematic series on 'Designing and Managing the Digital Organization'.
Increasingly, organizations are assessing opportunities, developing and delivering products and services, and interacting with their customers and other stakeholders digitally. Digital technology, social media, and big data are the drivers of the future workplace, and they are already having large social and economic impacts such as increased competition and collaboration, the disruption of both old and new industries, and organizations struggling to develop new capabilities and transform their cultures.
Computers, software tools and applications, communications networks, robots, 3-D printers, and other digital technologies are changing the way organizations are designed and managed, in terms of both improving existing practices and developing new businesses and approaches. Moreover, digital technologies are not only changing organizations but also the way we think about organizing. Both public and private organizations in the Digital Age will be quite different from today’s organizations.
Papers that address any aspect of designing and/or managing highly digitized organizations are welcome. Topics can include, but are not limited to, the following:
JOD publishes several types of papers including research papers, case studies, urgent issues and points of view all of which can be submitted to the Thematic Series.
Deadline for submissions: 1 November, 2016
Børge Obel, Aarhus University, Denmark
Charles Snow, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
For editorial enquiries please contact email@example.com
Sign up to article alerts to keep updated on articles published in Journal of Organization Design.