Bringing out the best in your teams to avoid a crisis:

individual preventive resilience


What is the managerial process for moving from individual resilience (reacting to a crisis) to collective resilience (anticipating a crisis)? What is the missing link between individual and collective resilience in a hospital context? To what extent can simple awareness of the risk of the structure disappearing be a fundamental factor in organisational resilience?

Research Impact(s)

Two models for mobilising teams working in the hospital sector are illustrated:

  • In the private sector, the risk of an organisation disappearing can be used to good effect to leverage the resilience of the workforce. Centred around the meaning given to proposed measures and a more pronounced form of authority, due in particular to the direct contractual link between management and staff, the notion of collective resilience is commonplace in private hospital management.
  • In the public sector, the successful engagement of teams in change management is based more on internal communication and informing staff of the issues and risks to be avoided. Such approaches are part of a more collective contractual link, based on the financial support given to projects carried out by the medical teams.  The ability to mobilise collective resilience is confronted with a feeling of immortality among staff, due to their status as civil servants. The involvement of hospital teams in the co-construction of development and change projects is a prerequisite for the success of these initiatives.

The role of management is to work continuously to develop individual preventive resilience, which is a type of theoretical bridge between individual resilience (the ability to react) and collective resilience (the ability of the structure to anticipate), and to keep staff engaged in continuous organisational transformation. Management therefore concentrates on:  

  • analysing the challenges of the environment and anticipating risks,
  • defining the strategy necessary for (1) the survival of the organisation and (2) its development,
  • the meaning given to the projects undertaken and communicating this to staff,
  • supporting technological and managerial innovation by giving more room to middle managers and promoting initiatives and participative management,
  • establishing close partnerships with institutions whose work is complementary and offers opportunities to strengthen strategic positions in a market.

Research Foundations

This research follows on from Weick’s (1993) work on resilience mechanisms in management. Indeed, while the literature on change management is abundant, few studies have made the link between resilience and management. My research has therefore involved assessing the mechanisms for anticipating crises, particularly in relation to the theory of collective resilience and the impact of learning in High Reliability Organisations (Altintas and Royer, 2009).


The methodological framework used in this study is based on a Group Concept Mapping approach. This methodological approach, first introduced by Trochim (1989), is based on a mixed bottom-up approach, enabling the statistical quantification of qualitative data. By mobilising the experience of hospital managers in the field and hospital directors, the Group Concept Mapping approach allowed me to assess priorities and possible solutions, and to formulate recommendations.

Further reading …

Reinforcing resilience through post-crisis learning: a longitudinal study of two turbulent periods.

  • Cloutier M., Larivière D. et Tremblay G., La cartographie des concepts en groupe : étapes de réalisation et conversations orientées terrain, dans Chevalier F., Cloutier M. et Mitev N. (2018). Les méthodes de recherche du DBA, EMS Editions, 2018.

Group concept mapping: steps involved and practice-oriented conversations.

Resilience in hospitals, collective responsiveness to healthcare challenges.

  • Larivière D., La gestion de la crise de la COVID-19 à l’Hôpital : la résilience adaptative au service de la survie de l’organisation, dans M. Kalika, L’impact de la crise sur le management, EMS Editions, Octobre 2020.

Managing the COVID-19 crisis in hospitals: adaptive resilience for organisational survival.

Feedback from panel members

Professor Lemay comments at the outset that this is a very good thesis with interesting results for hospital administrations worldwide. (Professor Lemay, member of the examination panel).

Professor Sébastien Liarte agrees with the quality of the work and underlines the high degree of coherence of the topic, methodology and results leading to a very smooth flowing reasoning and development. (Professor Liarte, member of the examination panel).