An integrated analysis of resiliencehow to achieve positive outgrowths

  1. Meneghel, Isabella
Supervised by:
  1. Isabel María Martínez Martínez Director
  2. Marisa Salanova Soria Director

Defence university: Universitat Jaume I

Fecha de defensa: 02 October 2014

  1. María José Chambel Chair
  2. Susana Llorens Gumbau Secretary
  3. Wilmar B. Schaufeli Committee member
  4. Laura Lorente Prieto Committee member
  5. María Vera Perea Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 370601 DIALNET lock_openTDX editor


Introduction Since late 2008 a global recession has upset the entire European economy and, although not all European countries have experienced the economic downturn or state-level financial problems to the same extent, the economic and financial crisis is affecting working conditions all around Europe in different ways and with a varying scope. In seeking ways to help employees navigate the stressful and ever-challenging work environment, it is fundamental to concentrate on developing strengths and capacities in human resources, as well as to recognize the importance of positivity (Avey, Luthans, & Jensen, 2009). In fact, they face challenges and adversity in organizations on a regular, even daily, basis, and thus it is fundamental for them to manage to absorb the stress that arises from these challenges, and not only to return functioning to a `normal¿ level but also to learn and grow from adversity in order to emerge stronger than before (Stephens, Heaphy, Carmeli, Spreitzer, & Dutton, 2013; Sutcliffe & Vogus, 2003). Given the characteristics of the current environment, is it possible that some organizations, as well as the individuals and groups of which they are composed, successfully adjust and thrive amidst these conditions? Would it be feasible to enhance the process of overcoming and thriving despite demanding and stressful conditions? If so, what helps the organization and its members in this process? To answer these questions, along the current dissertation we propose resilience as a key process that provides insight into how organizations continually achieve desirable outcomes in the midst of adversity, strain, and significant barriers to adaptation or development. In fact, the resilience approach recognizes the need for flexibility, adaptation, and improvisation in situations characterized by change and uncertainty, as well as the need to find inner strengths and resources in order to cope effectively (Ganor & Ben-Lavy, 2003; Youssef & Luthans, 2007). What is more, previous studies proposed that resilience readies and enables individuals, teams, and Organizations to respond positively to adverse conditions and to emerge strengthened (Sutcliffe & Vogus, 2003). In this regard, resilience must help organizations, as well as their members and teams, to deal with adverse and stressful situations, so that they can be overcome and positive organizational outcomes can be achieved. This dissertation attempts to contribute to resilience research by attempting to answer some fundamental research questions. They were grouped into three specific research challenges that will serve as a general outline for the primary objectives of the dissertation. * CHALLENGE 1. How can resilience be conceptualized in the organizational context? Besides the traditional focus on individual resilience, is it worth focusing on team or group resilience? * CHALLENGE 2. What are the antecedents of resilience in the organizational context? In addition to dispositional antecedents, are there any situational features that help to enhance resilience? Can the antecedents be conceptualized at different levels? * CHALLENGE 3. What is the real impact of resilience in the organizational context? Does it count in order to achieve better performance? Method In order to carry this out, after a general introduction (Chapter 1) the dissertation is composed of one theoretical chapter (Chapter 2) and four empirical studies (Chapters 3 to 6). Whereas the theoretical chapter aims to discuss a number of theoretical and methodological concerns with regard to previous research that has focused on resilience in the organizational context, the four empirical chapters are focused on some of these topics with the objective of looking for significant contributions to the research on resilience. With this purpose in mind, the four empirical studies have been carried out in different organizational domains (i.e., small and medium enterprises, large service company, and education) and countries (i.e., Spain and Italy). Furthermore, different statistical methods have been used (i.e., Exploratory Factor Analyses, Confirmative Factor Analyses, scale validation, Structural Equation Modeling, Path Analyses, Hierarchical Linear Modeling) to test the hypotheses of the studies. Chapter 2, entitled `The Road of Organizational Resilience - A Theoretical Review¿ is the theoretical chapter and presents a systematic overview of the state of the art of resilience research in the organizational context. Although this overview is not meant to be in any way exhaustive, several aspects of resilience research are addressed and it comprises critical issues that have been raised by such research throughout the past decades. Moreover, some of the knowledge gaps in resilience research are highlighted along with the conclusion of this chapter, which is the theoretical starting point of this thesis and guides the following four empirical studies. Chapter 3, entitled `The Emergence of Team Resilience: Job Related Antecedents and Improved Team Performance¿, is the first empirical chapter of the present dissertation. In this study, the role of job-related antecedents of team resilience is examined and, in accordance with the taxonomy proposed by the Job Demands-Resources Model (JD-R; Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001), the additive and moderating effects of collective job demands and job social resources on team resilience are investigated. Furthermore, the mediating role of team resilience in the relationships between job-related variables and team performance is tested. Chapter 4, entitled `Feeling Good makes us Stronger: How Team Resilience Mediates between Positive Emotions and Team Performance¿, delves deeper into the role played by collective positive emotions in increasing team resilience. According to the Broaden-and-Build Theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 1998; 2001) and taking a step further toward its application at the team level, the predictive role of collective positive emotions on team resilience is examined. Moreover, the mediation role of team resilience between collective positive emotions and team performance as rated by the direct supervisor is tested. Chapter 5, entitled `How to promote Academic Satisfaction and Performance: Building Academic Resilience through Coping Strategies¿, is focused on resilience in the academic context in order to know how the organizations of learning, as universities, can support the resilience of its students. The chapter has a twofold aim. Firstly, the validation of an academic resilience scale (Martin & Marsh, 2006) is performed in a Spanish sample. Secondly, the extent to which different coping strategies impact on academic resilience is examined, with evidence being provided about what kind of strategies - organized into theoretical and empirical based categories - are positively or negatively related with resilience. Moreover, the relationship between academic resilience and objective performance over time is explored, giving evidence that this relationship is mediated by academic satisfaction. Chapter 6, entitled `Social Context and Resilience as Predictors of Job Satisfaction and Performance: A Multilevel Study over time¿ is the last empirical study of this dissertation. In this chapter, whether individual work resilience is affected by a variable at a different and higher (work-unit) level is explored, taking into consideration work-units shared perceptions of social context (Borgogni, Dello Russo, Di Tecco, Alessandri, & Vecchione, 2011). Furthermore, both individual work resilience and work-units, shared perceptions of social context are examined as antecedents of individual job satisfaction and objective performance over time. Finally, the last chapter (Chapter 7) comprises some overall conclusions from the preceding chapters included in the present dissertation. In this chapter, the most salient results with which to address the previously discussed research challenges and questions are summarized. In doing so, this chapter aims to integrate and discuss the key findings and main contributions of this dissertation, with special attention to research challenges and practical implications. In addition, it identifies the limitations of the studies presented and avenues for future research on resilience. Conclusion The main objective of the present dissertation seeks to add value to the stream of research and to advance our current understanding of resilience by providing theoretical and empirical evidence for its critical role in the organizational context. We believe that this dissertation contributes to the emergent field of literature on resilience in the organizational context by focusing on the salient antecedents and outcomes of resilience at both the individual and team levels. Likewise, we consider that our results have important implications for studying how organizations, as well as the individuals and teams of which they are composed, successfully adjust and thrive amidst adverse conditions. Especially in the current times, characterized by economic crisis and global recession, we believe that our results are extremely beneficial and valuable. References Avey, J. B., Luthans, F., & Jensen, S. M. (2009). 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