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Tiffany M. Bisbey, Molly P. Kilcullen, and Eduardo Salas

In the tumultuous and unprecedented times of the 21st century, resilience is more important than ever for organizational success. High-reliability organizations (HROs) are known for their ability to operate effectively in high-risk contexts by preventing avoidable crises and maintaining resilience when challenges arise. In the psychology literature, resilience is the phenomenon of overcoming adversity with minimal negative impact to performance and well-being. Although the study of psychological resilience began at the individual level, researchers are beginning to adopt a multilevel perspective of the construct that accounts for resilience at the team and organizational levels. While the science of HROs has been studied for several decades, research on psychological resilience in the workplace has only just begun to flourish by comparison. There are many lessons for creating and maintaining resilience that can be learned from the successful practice of HROs. HROs have systems of layered defenses in place that allow the organization to prevent precluded events and overcome the potential negative impact of adverse conditions and near misses. Organizations that conduct work in high-risk contexts may be able to model the success of HROs by keeping learning foremost, investing time and resources into team training, supporting a climate of psychological safety, coaching employees to keep performance objectives in focus, and practicing systems thinking and accounting for complexity in resource allocation. Maintaining resilience is not a duty outlined in a formal job description, yet it is undoubtedly important for enabling effective high-risk work. Going above and beyond the formal definition of roles may be the only route to effectiveness in these organizations.