The Business of Resilience

Demos Report about doing business in a globalised world

Doing business is getting more and more complex. Globalisation has changed the structure and pace of corporate life; the saturation of traditional markets is taking companies to more risky places; the shift towards a knowledge economy is eroding the importance of ‘place’ in the business world; new business practices such as offshoring challenge companies to manage at a distance; and new forms of accountability, such as corporate governance and corporate social responsibility, put added pressure on companies to match their words with deeds, wherever they are operating. One response has been the shift from functional to matrix structures, where companies organize themselves into teams with diverse skills and expertise to solve specific business problems, power is devolved to the local level, and effective management relies on being able to work across the organisation through trusted networks rather than the official
channels.

At the same time, security risks have become more complex, too. Many of the threats, such as terrorism, organised crime and information security, are asymmetric and networked, making them more difficult to manage. There is also greater appreciation of the interdependence between a company’s risk portfolio and the way it does business: certain types of behaviour can enhance or undermine an organisation’s ‘licence to operate’, and in some cases this can generate risks that would not otherwise exist. As a result, security has a higher profile in the corporate world today than it did five years ago. Companies are looking for new ways to manage these risks and the portfolio of the security department has widened to include shared responsibility for things such as reputation, corporate governance and regulation, corporate social responsibility and information assurance.

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