Making Organisations Resilient: Understanding the Reality of the Challenge
Organisations play key roles within our society. They have the responsibility for managing, maintaining and operating our infrastructure, creating our economy, and providing employment and essential goods and services for our communities. An organisationÕs ability to respond effectively to adverse events depends on their structure, the management and operational systems they have in place, and the collective resilience of these. New Zealand organisations have been through considerable structural change over the past two decades. This has occurred at all levels from central through to local government and the private sector. Some organisations have in fact been through several cycles of restructuring in the pursuit of different philosophies. This process has seen the evolution into smaller and more independent organisations and business units. Their focus on short-term economic efficiency has however had a detrimental effect in terms of planning to be resilient in the face of major emergency events. This paper provides a past/ present/ future perspective of New Zealand by presenting reflections on the impacts of corporatisation during the Ô80s and Ô90s, a view of the current situation and suggestions on where future emphasis should be placed. The view is expressed that relatively few organisations (public or private) in New Zealand are currently making appropriate levels of commitment and investment in the vital element of ÔreadinessÕ or preparedness to respond to and recover from major emergency events. In addition to highlighting the challenge that this situation represents, some practical strategies for increasing organisational resilience are suggested, along with key areas where greater resource commitment should be made.