Why do some businesses and organizations survive and evolve through crises, while others fold? This question is asked by Stefan Tengblad, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Skövde, in his recent book The Organizational Resilience Framework. And now, one of the most important organizations in the world wants to hear from Stefan. In March, Stefan has been invited to the UN in New York as a keynote speaker.
– The invitation came as a surprise. A very pleasant one. I am flattered that such an important organization as the UN is interested in these questions, says Stefan Tengblad. Stefan is the editor in chief for the book, which is a collaboration with Margareta Ouidhuis from the University of Borås.
The book, The Organizational Resilience Framework, will be released on February 21 at the University of Skövde. In the book, the researchers will present their findings after having studied multiple companies. Thomas Andersson, Nomie Eriksson, Christian Jansson and Torbjörn Ljungkvist, all from the University of Skövde, have also contributed with sections in the book. They have looked at success stories as well as failed endeavours.
– There are many interesting examples to study. Volvo Cars is one of them. Volvo Cars have experienced several crises and financial difficulties, but they have always found a way back. Most recently, after the separation from Ford. Apple is also worth mentioning in this context. Before the return of Steve Jobs in the 1990's, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. From there, the company went on a journey to become one of the world's most successful enterprises.
Skilled staff is the most important resource
What are some characteristics of the successful companies? They are reliable, efficient, and have the ability to change, says Tengblad. And, there is a balance between these three characteristics.
– Streamlining is closely tied to profitability. However, some companies tend to put too much effort into becoming efficient. They take a short term approach. Companies are better prepared for a temporary recess if there is a long term focus on development. New products or services add to a company's competitiveness, says Tengblad, and adds:
– But the most important factor is an engaged work force. Staff who are active and engaged drive and develop companies. It also leads to happy customers who trust the company, and to returning visitors and customers. There are examples of companies and organizations that have let go of good sales people to reduce the labour costs. Oftentimes, these decisions lead to a loss in credibility and, eventually, in profitability, as well. Short term savings may lead to losses over time.