Oxford Pathways Class 8 Chapter The Unexpected
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While much of this chapter focuses on unexpected crises, we also recognize that many crises are not, in fact, unpredictable. Rather their unexpectedness results from systematic filtering of historical facts and realities to underplay potential upheaval to existing orders. While few expected the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials have long predicted the possibility of a catastrophic pandemic caused by any number of infectious airborne pathogens. For decades, ongoing advocacy has called for a more robust global health governance structure and public health resources to better and more expeditiously respond to pandemic conditions, but this advocacy has met with little success.
The most robust synthesis of empirical literature regarding factors associated with organizational resilience is the literature review completed by Barasa et al. (2018), which synthesized findings from 34 high-quality papers with empirical evidence about organizational attributes associated with continued performance through unexpected crises (e.g., civil war, extreme staff shortages, economic downturns, disease outbreak). The associated factors included: material resources (financial and technical) and human capital (enough and adequately skilled and motivated employees), information management (the availability of timely, accurate information about the environment to assist in sensemaking and to prompt wise decision-making), preparedness and planning (having standard operating procedures for crises, having conducted drills), collateral pathways and redundancy (having multiple, alternative courses of action in case one course becomes unusable), social networks (the ability to leverage networks and alliances of like organizations to share information, political voice, and best practices), governance processes (decentralized yet coordinated planning and decision-making), leadership practices (inclusive decision-making, promoting shared vision), and organizational culture (challenges are viewed as learning opportunities, creative problem-solving is rewarded). 2b1af7f3a8