Resilience in real terms: uncovering organisational resilience challenges in international water utilities

Authors: Eduarda Mattacola*, , Simon Jude, School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK, Heather Smith, Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK, Simon Pollard, School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Resilience, International water utilities, Organisational resilience, Organisational resilience challenges, Organisational culture of resilience.
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 26
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The importance of adapting organisational and social capabilities to support long-term resiliency is being increasingly recognised by the water sector. However, the growing appetite for such interventions does not translate in practice. There is a lack of understanding of the organisational challenges that prevent the adaptation of such capabilities towards organisational resilience. Uncovering these challenges to decision-makers and industry professionals may facilitate positive and pragmatic change to shape future work and guidance for the water sector. Through interviews with representatives from international water utilities, we uncovered current challenges within the organisational domain that impact the utilities’ propensity to change behaviour in accordance with organisational resilience principles. Our findings demonstrate some organisational challenges spanning individuals’ behaviour and attitudes, organisational structures and culture. We argue that although resilience is a well-accepted concept, in reality water utilities from a variety of countries still struggle to employ and display organisational resilience behaviour.

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