Employee Resilience Research - Psychology - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

About Us

The Employee Resilience Research group combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies to investigate and understand resilience from the standpoint of the employee, and of the organisation at large. Our team consists of researchers and postgraduate students from Psychology as well as Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. We collaborate closely with the Leading and Managing Resilient Organisations research group (LORE), Resilient Organisations (ResOrgs), as well as Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR) to create a dynamic, multidisciplinary research team that aims to advance knowledge of the factors contributing to worker resilience, and of the key outcomes for organisations committed to developing resilient workers, namely engagement, high performance and wellbeing.

The Employee Resilience Research group defines employee resilience as an ability to thrive in a changing environment. This ability is facilitated by the organisational context, including leadership and organisational culture. This means that organisations play a key role in how well their employees are able to adjust and perform under pressure. An added benefit of employee resilience concerns the positive spillover effects – resilient employees will also be better equipped to handle challenges outside or work, and by facilitating employee resilience, organisations can support community resilience.

We integrate employee-level information with specific organisational initiatives to create a deeper understanding of whether the processes currently in place effectively support resilience among employees. In addition, we identify areas of intervention to address and facilitate employee resilience. The goal of our research and collaboration with practitioner is to contribute to resilient employees, who are healthy and active contributors in their organisation, as well as in their community.

The Canterbury earthquakes introduced severe and unique challenges to the region, including organisations dealing with loss of buildings, customers, and employees dealing with relocation, restructuring, rebuilding. Many of the challenges that were originally prompted by the earthquakes are now part of the everyday life in organisations, resulting in a “new normal” which both managers and employees need to adjust to. The extent to which organisations survive and thrive in these changing circumstances may be partially attributed to organisational resilience, which in turn depends on organisational ability to learn and adapt, but also on employee engagement (Walker et al.). We believe organisations benefit from incorporating employee resilience in their continuity and contingency plans.

Resilience in organisations and among employees is relevant in any context which introduces challenges and change, and transcends a post-disaster context. We therefore couple rigorous scientific methodologies with practitioner expertise to encourage organisations to capitalise on employee resilience, and guide the process of increasing organisational resilience and performance through staff capabilities.