Post-disaster psychological capital and organisational resilience : a narrative analysis of small business owners’/managers’ experiences.
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
Two minutes after midnight on 14 November 2016, a magnitude 7.8 (Mw) earthquake struck the town of Kaikoura, New Zealand. The earthquake resulted in two deaths, over $900 million in insurance claims, significant damage to infrastructure such as roads and buildings, and resulted in stressful situations for local businesses and the community. Kaikoura is well known for its tourism resources, as a quarter of the jobs in the Kaikoura District are in the tourism sector. Tourist arrivals decreased dramatically because of the earthquake, and local tourism SMEs lost substantial customers, if not all, and this negatively impacted on their revenue. Organisational resilience has emerged as a significant issue in the post-disaster literature, and this study attempts to understand how tourism small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can develop organisational resilience to cope with unexpected changes, as well as incremental changes, as part of business as usual. Given that most of the local tourism SMEs in Kaikoura are family-owned and small in size, the role of the owners and managers has become essentially important in these businesses to build organisational resilience. Thus, this study aims at incorporating psychological capital into the study of organisational resilience. The study investigated how the psychological capital of business owners/managers could influence the organisational resilience of tourism SMEs in post-disaster Kaikoura.
In doing so, this study was grounded in an interpretivist research paradigm, and adopted a narrative analysis approach to understand the influence of psychological capital on organisational resilience. The owners and managers of 17 local tourism SMEs took part in indepth interviews. As part of an interpretivist paradigm and based on the requirements of narrative analysis, the researcher analysed and interpreted the social reality of local businesses in Kaikoura and configured one general narrative story, as well as three individual narrative stories that complement the initial thematic analysis that was used to analyse the data. The patterns and relationships within the data in relation to the components of psychological capital and their influence on organisational resilience were embedded in the general narrative story, explaining the main similarities and differences among the 17 tourism SMEs. The three individual narrative stories were configured based on the data of the three most representative participants, highlighting the most important and interesting findings in relation to the research questions. Through this study, the researcher has identified that in general the positive psychological capital of the participants enhanced organisational resilience during the post-disaster recovery. Different psychological capital components, namely, self-efficacy, hope, optimism and psychological resilience, have enhanced different aspects of the organisational resilience of the SMEs. In addition, the researcher also found that the adaptive resilience of the tourism SMEs was more often enhanced by the psychological capital of the participants as opposed to planned resilience. Moreover, this study found that it was through different coping mechanisms used by the participants after the earthquake that psychological capital had a positive influence on organisational resilience. Last but not least, this study identified that a lack of support from the government and other local businesses seemed to have weakened the psychological capital of some owners/managers of new businesses, in particular, which might have become an obstacle in the recovery of the community post-disaster.
This study contributes to the literature by suggesting that psychological capital of business owners/managers can have an influence on organisational resilience. Except for a few studies that have examined social capital and community resilience, the relationship between psychological capital and organisational resilience within a post-disaster context has not been examined before. This study shows also that SMEs generally lack planned resilience, and provids practical recommendations for enhancing planned resilience in such businesses. From a methodological perspective, this study reinforces the value of employing narrative analysis to understand the experiences of entrepreneurs, owners and managers in the tourism sector. In addition, this study emphasises and exemplifies the importance of conducting narrative analysis in an “authentic” way, which is often neglected by the tourism scholars. The authenticity of the narrative analysis in this study was reached by carefully addressing each requirement and demonstrating each characteristic of narrative analysis, and then presenting those requirements and characteristics in the general narrative story.