Dr Bridgette Sulllivan-Taylor of Warwick Business School has been awarded funding for a three-year study to research the ability of organisations to deal with the threat of extreme events.
The project will build on her recent ground-breaking research examining the intricate inter-relationship between international tourism and terrorism, which has been used in workshops at 11 Downing Street and published in a Chatham House and Smith Institute publications.
The new research will work towards assisting Midlands businesses and institutions in preparing for disasters such as flooding, bird flu outbreaks and terrorist scares which bring the real possibility of disrupting supply networks, shutting down production and strangling transport networks.
The Midlands in particular has been hard hit in recent years by large scale flooding which affected more than 450 businesses and 184,000 households at an estimated cost of £372 million. And businesses and institutions in the region are currently at a greater risk than ever before from the soaring cost of fuel and industrial action at home or abroad and cannot afford to be caught unprepared.
Dr Sulllivan-Taylor explained the aim of the study: “It is no use waiting until the water is lapping around your ankles or your fleet of vehicles has no fuel before your organisation decides to develop a plan.
The research project will seek to identify ways in which organisational resilience – in both the public and the private sectors – might be embedded and enhanced, not least through the transfer of best practice within and between sectors.”
Dr Sulllivan-Taylor has been awarded the funding by The Cabinet Office and will be supported by Advantage West Midlands, The Confederation of British Industry and The University of Warwick.
Organisations within the West Midlands are also invited to participate in the research by attending an event next Friday at The Boardroom at The Ricoh Arena.
The event is aimed at encouraging both senior representatives from all sizes of business within the region to develop their organisational resilience capabilities, focusing on challenges posed by the threat of soaring fuel and food prices and economic recession.
The first of a nationwide series of high level round tables was held at Birmingham International Airport earlier this month and explored the important issue of organisational resilience with senior representatives from strategic companies in areas such as utilities, transport from the Midlands region.
Early findings from the research indicate that extreme events cannot be dealt with by individual organisations alone and therefore it is essential to develop co-operation and inter-organisational resilience with external networks to guarantee continued business success in turbulent times.