Abstract: Pandemics, global warming, and war, whether physical or digital, are grand challenges of our age. Based on a more and more globalized and interconnected world, those challenges’ severity and frequency are increasing (see Global Risk Report by the World Economic Forum). Therefore, managing crises and making organizations resilient become vital capabilities of the top management team (TMT). As the TMT approaches those challenges, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) often emerges as the actor who holds the keys to making the firm more resilient. For example, CIOs triggered the virtualization of workspaces and the provision of hardware such as smartphones and laptops, which later became the essential factors helping the Chief Executive Officer transition the operational mode from physical to digital during COVID-19. However, despite the rising importance, we know little about how TMTs, in general, and the CIO, in particular, make firms more resilient in responding to the grand challenges of our age. Our study builds on the theory of crisis management and organizational resilience to explain how CIOs built proactive resilience before the crisis and utilized this during crisis management as reactive resilience to steer the outcome trajectory of the crisis. The process model illustrates how capacities, authority, and the mitigation of fragilities before a crisis impact the cognitive and behavioral response, which determines if firms suffer adverse effects, can retain the status quo, or even thrive in the advent of an emerging crisis.
Short CV: Andreas Hein is a postdoctoral researcher and head of the research group on digital platforms & e-government at the Krcmar Lab, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany. He holds a Ph.D. from TUM in Information Systems and has three years of experience as a Senior Strategy Consultant at IBM. His work has appeared in the Journal of Strategic Information Systems, European Journal of Information Systems, Electronic Markets, Business & Information Systems Engineering, and Information Systems Frontiers, as well as refereed conference proceedings such as the International Conference on Information Systems.