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Researcher Studying How Companies Can Be More Effective

A UC Management Researcher Studying How Companies Can Be More Effective

May 8, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) management researcher is studying organisations to see how they can become more effective, especially in relation to their day to day operations.

Eleanor Grimshaw’s research uses a case study of people from a variety of organisations to gauge their perceptions of what their organisation is doing, or could do, to support their resilience.

The project is part of the wider UC Leading and Managing Organisations research programme. Fellow student Deane Nicholls contributed to an earlier stage of the project. Grimshaw’s research is being supervised by Dr Bernard Walker.

Until now, research has investigated factors that contribute to personal resilience or organisational resilience. However little has been done to bridge the two and investigate how organisations can foster or hinder personal resilience.

Knowing what organisations need to focus on developing and the ways that they can strengthen the resilience of their staff are crucial for building organisations that can respond and recover faster and more effectively in following a crisis.

``My project specifically seeks to learn more about how concepts of resilience can be applied to assist non-government organisations,’’ Grimshaw says.

``The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes highlighted how non-government organisations fulfil vital roles in communities, supporting the crisis and recovery phases of disasters.

``It is not a retrospective look at how organisations fared in the quakes or how they could have done better, but a study looking at how to improve organisational performance in general.

``It hopes to provide a practical framework which organisations could use to shape work practices and organisational procedures for their response to crises such as recurring earthquakes.

``Communities encounter situations ranging from natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes or floods, through to crime and industrial contamination.

``The study aims to create organisations that can deal with these challenges, minimise the harm, and help with restoring their communities.

``From the experience of a disaster we can also learn a lot about how organisations can function more successfully when dealing with normal operations. This project will also provide guidance for a broad variety of other challenges.’’

Researchers Dr Walker and Associate Professor Venkataraman Nilakant last year received $540,000 of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funding to investigate selected lifeline organisations to see how they coped following major events.

Eleanor Grimshaw


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