Leader influences on resilience and adaptability in organizations

Authored by: Paul T. Bartone

The Routledge International Handbook of Psychosocial Resilience

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138954878
eBook ISBN: 9781315666716
Adobe ISBN: 9781317355946


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According to the renowned stress researcher Hans Selye, some amount of stress is a necessary condition of life. Even when fully at rest, our bodily systems are still working hard to maintain homeostasis. As Selye (1974) said famously, the only way to be completely free from stress is to be dead! And while life has never been without stress, it certainly appears that, as the pace of change has quickened in the modern era, the potential for stress has risen for many people. The need to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances has indeed grown substantially in today’s world (Ilgen & Pulakos, 1999). New technologies, equipment, and systems appear at a fast pace, forcing changes in the way many jobs get accomplished (Thach & Woodman, 1994). Also, increasing globalization of operations for many organizations means that employees often must learn to function in unfamiliar cultures and languages (Molinsky, 2007). Given these increased demands, organizations are in need of employees who are highly resilient and able to adapt quickly to changing conditions. The present chapter explores the role of psychological hardiness in promoting resilience and adaptability and describes how leaders can foster these desirable qualities across the workforce.

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