In the Wake of Disaster: Resilient Organizing and a New Path for the Future
High-hazard organizations are unique due to their susceptibility to disasters that can have grave consequences not just for the organization but also for stakeholders, the communities in which they operate and the environment. Though prominence is placed on understanding how high-hazard organizations avoid such events, how they create a new future when such an event does occur is underexplored. The purpose of this chapter, thus, is to investigate how organizations create a new future in the wake of a disaster through resilient organizing. Using an instrumental case study methodology, this study investigates how executives at British Petroleum (BP), a high-hazard organization, embodied resilient organizing following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We show how resilient organizing helped BP bounce back and beyond by learning from the disaster, finding resolve, refocusing and experiencing transformation through action. In doing so, BP endeavored to prepare for, build, cultivate and commit to a new future. Insights from this research point to resilient organizing as a promising strategy for creating a new future and suggest future avenues for research on resilient organizing in high-hazard contexts and beyond.
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