In order to analyse the potential benefits of organisational resilience, there is a need to briefly overview the company, focusing primarily on its latest activities. Subsea Technology and Rentals was originally established in Scotland but has since grown to an international technology corporation that specialises in sales and rental services to the offshore marine sectors (Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018). The company’s services include calibration, cathodic protection inspection, and research. STR provides clients with geophysical and oceanographic equipment, as well as ROV tools (Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018). The organization clarifies that its mission is “to offer all of our customers a competitive edge by delivering integrated, forward-thinking technology and innovative engineering solutions” (Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018). When it comes to organisational resilience, STR’s official website states that the team values dynamic and innovation, elaborating that the latter has been a key factor in their continuous success (Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018).
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Apart from developing new technological solutions at various engineering laboratories, STR has sustained its market dominance by partnering with other resourceful and innovative enterprises worldwide. For instance, the company has established agreements with Forssea Robotics, Guidance Marine, and MacArtney over the past years (Guidance Marine, 2018; Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018; Smith, 2019). Such partnerships allowed STR to enhance its rental pool and expand the range of its services.
The Concept of Organisational Resilience
Developing a resilience capacity allows organisations to adequately respond to unexpected events and potentially capitalise on them. The concept of resilience is similar to flexibility and agility. However, both agility and flexibility focus on dealing with and reacting to daily changes and issues, whereas organisational resilience specialises in long-term predictions in order to address future threats and crises (Duchek, 2020). Therefore, only resilience incorporates an adaptability aspect, which allows a company to learn from the experience and implement necessary changes for future disruptions. Duchek (2020) provides a conceptual framework that defines three key resilience stages: anticipation, coping, and adaptation. Denyer (2017, p. 25) argues that resilience requires “a holistic approach and an appropriate balance between preventative control, mindful action, performance optimization and adaptive innovation.” Therefore, each stage implies the development of a specific set of managerial capabilities, including innovative, strategic, and crisis management.
There is currently a perspective shift in academia in regards to organisational resilience’s role. Scholars from the 1990s and early 2000s described resilience as a defensive response to environmental changes (Duchek, 2020). Modern theorists, however, agree that organisational resilience goes beyond resistance and recovery. They argue that resilience is offensive and proactive since companies do not only need to respond to threats but learn from them and make appropriate adaptations. Thus, according to these scholars, there are two main drivers of organisational resilience: defensive and progressive. This leads to two different perspectives on how resilience can be achieved – either through consistency or flexibility (Denyer, 2017). Due to the fact that there is still a level of uncertainty among scholars, this report assumes that organisational resilience has both responsive and adaptive functions.
The Importance of Resilience
In a highly volatile business environment, organisations often face unexpected events such as technical malfunctions, ecological disasters, and terrorist attacks. Such crises can arise either within a company or externally. In order to survive and grow during uncertain times, organisations need to confront significant changes and respond to them productively (Whyte, Cox, and Spender, 2018). This is why the development of resilience is crucial for any enterprise’s long-term success. According to the data presented by Walker (2019), public firms’ life expectancy has shortened from 75 to 15 years over the course of recent decades. It is essential for companies to invest in and support initiatives related to building flexibility and acquiring business intelligence. Executives should not only but as well.
The offshore marine industry is often engaged in multimillion-dollar projects. Thus, supply chain networks, dominated by the sector’s leaders, are subject to inconsistencies and loopholes. Material price fluctuation, inadequate information system integrity, and cybersecurity breaches are some of the most common issues a company such as STR could face. Working in the marine sector makes STR prone to environmental threats (IHS Markit, 2015). According to Stevens (2015), the maritime industry sector is projected to go through a number of transitions over the next decade. Although the industry has potential for growth and innovation, there are considerable risks associated with climate change, dwindling natural resources, and the emergence of new industries focused exclusively on sustainable energy sources. Subsea Technology and Rentals needs to invest in organisational resilience in order to respond productively to any internal or external threats. Resilience also gives the enterprise an excellent learning opportunity, which implies that it would gather enough business intelligence to manage and prevent future crises. Moreover, STR’s continuous expansion requires the company to develop more efficient adaptability capabilities in order to manage long-term risks in new environments.
Drivers of Organisational Resilience
Organisational resilience presents numerous barriers. However, in order to start the process of building long-term resilience, it is important to acknowledge the drivers of a company’s ability to adapt. An attribution model of resilience demonstrates that the two main drivers of change in any organisation are its values and leadership (Gibson and Tarrant, no date). A strong value system implies the existence of internal alignment, employee commitment, and shared mission/purpose within a complex organisational structure. STR employees have a common mission of delivering forward-thinking, innovative technology to the customers (Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018). Organisational values include teamwork, commitment, and continuous innovation (Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018). The second driver of resilience in the attribution model is leadership. According to Codou et al. (2017), effective leaders can inspire change, motivate their teams, and engage them in the key aspects of developing resilience. Moreover, a recent Forbes article emphasises the importance of strong leadership for any organisation’s long-term growth and consistent profits (Gleeson, 2017). As for STR, the second driver consists of Group Managing Director Scott Johnstone, Chairwoman Elaine Grant, and numerous other executives and senior managers. However, there is no team that would cooperate various agendas concerning risk management and resilience development.
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According to Denyer (2017), there is another option of navigating resilience drivers. He proposes them to be separated into two distinct categories: defensive drivers and progressive ones. STR’s defensive drivers include preventative control and mindful action. Both of them help the company anticipate environmental threats and operate with such predictions in mind. STR’s progressive drivers refer to its performance optimisation and adaptive innovation. The company demonstrates that it manages to optimise its services for the customers, but it fails to establish an efficient framework that would use intelligence collected over the years and apply it to optimise key operations (Subsea Technology and Rentals, 2018). As for the innovation, STR excels at delivering some of the most forward-thinking services that are often powered by the data produced at the company’s engineering laboratories.
Barriers to Organisational Resilience
There are various barriers associated with the implementation of an effective resilience strategy. Obstacles include alignment, prioritisation, and cross-functional engagement (Halkos and Skouloudis, 2020). Alignment refers to the company’s ability to foster a professional environment, where employees have common goals and believe in a shared organisational vision. STR manages to establish such a climate but fails to include resilience in the framework of values. Therefore, employees focus primarily on everyday tasks and their optimisation instead of gathering intelligence in order to make long-term predictions and prepare for potential threats (Burnard and Bhamra, 2019). It is crucial for STR to prioritise the development of resilience and invest in specific initiatives related to optimisation (Rahman and Mendi, 2019). As for cross-functional engagement, the term implies the engagement of resources and organisational capabilities beyond one department or division (Halkos and Skouloudis, 2020). In order to make mindful adaptations, it is essential for STR to create an operational network that would allow different departments to cooperate.
Suggestions for Change at STR: Practical Implementation
In order to make effective changes in regards to organisational resilience at STR, there is a need for an in-depth understanding of the ways to address the barriers demonstrated previously. Firstly, STR has no established framework for including resilience as part of the business’ value system. Therefore, the company should encourage employees to think of change as default in order to accelerate long-term, transformational change. This could be achieved through official alternations to STR’s mission and values statements. However, in order to engage employees in the concept of resilience, there is a need for educational initiatives, including regular seminars, discussions, and briefings. Increasing psychological resources of employees could also be beneficial to STR. Fostering a climate that focuses on self-improvement and motivation is integral to building organisational resilience. Hence, the main focus of developing resilience lays in transformational leadership.
Leaders are integral to organisational resilience since they have a lot of influence on their teams’ attitude, performance, and overall job satisfaction. According to Valero, Jung, and Andrew (2015), there is empirical evidence supporting the claim that transformational leadership is crucial for long-term market success. They emphasise that companies can respond to catastrophic events much better if they manage to identify and invest in leaders who possess transformational qualities. Such traits often include self-efficacy, the ability to motivate, charisma, and emotional intelligence (Wang, Li C., and Li X., 2017). Therefore, STR should manage its human resources (HR) while prioritising candidates with the strong transformational skillset for new positions or promotions. HR team could undergo special training that would help the organisation support the integration of transformational leadership.
Finally, apart from values and leadership, STR expresses a need for structure in order to develop adaptability and agility. Performance optimisation often requires centralised decision making business model (Lima, Humberto, and Thierry, 2017). Resilience, on the other hand, requires the company to think of longer timescales and continuous optimisation. As a result, coordinating different components and their context becomes crucial under stress. STR’s systemic solutions could imply the creation of a separate crisis unit that would specialise in collecting information from internal/external sources and making predictions based on these insights (Williams et al., 2017). Moreover, the same resilience (crisis) unit could be responsible for suggesting specific adaptations in cooperation with other departments.
Organisational resilience is an integral part of long-term success and agility. Developing flexibility might work for everyday operational activity and short-term tasks, but the ability to adapt and capitalise on the changes affects a company more significantly. Resilience can play both defensive and progressive roles. On the one hand, STR could benefit from building organisational resilience since it would allow the company to respond to any unexpected changes more productively. On the other hand, there is a need for STR to develop resilience in order to become more adaptable and collect enough business intelligence to make necessary changes for future disruptions. This constitutes the progressive role of resilience development. Organisational agility and adaptability could benefit STR in terms of dealing with technical malfunctions, cybersecurity issues, and external threats. The offshore marine sector is full of risks related to the environment and economic fluctuations, which justifies the concern some of the STR managers might have in regards to the lack of organisational resilience frameworks at the company.
The barriers related to the development of resilience at STR originate from the structural gaps in the organisation’s alignment, prioritisation, and cross-functional engagement. Educational initiatives have the potential to help the company integrate the diversity of thought and adaptability as organisational values. The implementation of HR practices focused on transformational leadership could address the lack of coordination between the departments. Furthermore, taking a systemic approach to cooperation between different departments would significantly contribute to the development of long-term resilience at STR.
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