South African business institutions function within what may best be described as a dual manufacturing and services economy, inherently integrated within a larger global economy that is characterised as highly
competitive and subject to unexpected discontinuous change. Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe (2001:2), in research how institutions deal with unexpected trends and events, suggest that in general managers are not at all that adept in this regard and consequently events spiral, get worse and disrupt the operations of the institution. The researchers go on to claim that commitment to resilience and an ability to bounce back from “those inevitable errors that are part of an indeterminate world”, are critical facets in managing an enterprise
(Weick & Sutcliffe 2001:2). Yet it is claimed by McManus, Seville, Brunsdon and Vargo (2007) that there is little consensus regarding how institutions might achieve greater resilience in the face of increasing
contextual instability. Hui and Sit (2005:180) suggest that a primary function of culture is “to serve as an appraisal heuristic, enabling individuals to efficiently assess objects, events and people in their environment”. It is therefore implied that culture and climate play a role in the institutional response to
unexpected emergent contextual conditions that impact on an institution and consequently its resilience capability. In this paper institutional resilience is therefore explored, with reference to organisational culture and climate as behavioural determinants and the influence thereof in dealing with the complexity of a South African dual manufacturing and services economy.