When organizations think about sustainability, they might reflexively think about environmental sustainability. However, there are two other dimensions of sustainability that organizations should care about: social and economic. Researchers in this study (Rai, Rai, & Singh 2021) demonstrated that, after a crisis such as COVID-19, organizational resilience impacts social and economic sustainability. Organizations can use this information to be stronger in the face of future crises.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
Social sustainability refers to managing issues such as labor conditions, well-being, quality of life, equality, diversity, and connectedness – within the organization as well as in the community. Economic sustainability refers to generation of income without wasting resources and capital.
The researchers examined three aspects of resilience: crisis anticipation, organizational robustness, and organizational recoverability. Crisis anticipation is the ability to predict disruptions, robustness is an organization’s level of immunity to the disruption, and recoverability is an organization’s ability to restore its processes post-crisis. The authors hypothesized that all three parts of resilience can impact social and economic sustainability.
The researchers surveyed 261 employees of various industries in India – mostly textile, electronics, and hospitality. They found that each of the three parts of organizational resilience (crisis anticipation, robustness, and recoverability) had a positive impact on both social and economic sustainability.
The researchers recommend that organizations should focus on building organizational resilience. They posit that by being anticipatory, robust, and recoverable, organizations will have increased connectedness and employee well-being, and generate income by being more resourceful.
It also seems that along with social sustainability comes high morale among employees. Along with economic sustainability comes leverage to invest in further research and development. These advancements will help organizations be stronger during and after a crisis, and also help them continue to grow and change with the times.
Rai, S. S., Rai, S., & Singh, N. K. (2021). Organizational resilience and social–economic sustainability: COVID–19 perspective. Environment, Development and Sustainability. Advance online publication.