Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (Print ISSN: 1098-8394; Online ISSN: 1528-2651)

Research Article: 2020 Vol: 23 Issue: 2S

Sustainable Motivation as a Driver of Organizational Resilience on Crisis Period

Wided Ragmoun, College of Business and Economics-Qassim University

Meshael Sulaiman S Almoshaigeh, College of Business and Economics-Qassim University

Citation Information: Ragmoun, W., Almoshaigeh, M.S.S. (2020) Sustainable motivation as a driver of organizational resilience on crisis period. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 23(S2).


This study aims to explore the link between sustainable motivation and organizational resilience. The main idea of this research is to determine how sustainable motivation can reinforce organizational resilience on different levels especially during the crisis period. We admit that a motivated employee develops some specific competencies and attitudes to overcome unexpected events through agility, robustness, and integrity. A research model was developed based on three main dimensions for each variable. Hypothesis test related to this model was elaborated according to a quantitative approach based on 400 questionnaires administrated to Saudi organizations on health, education, and oil. Findings demonstrate a positive interaction between these variables. Competencies, relatedness, and autonomy assured by employee sustainable motivation contribute to the development and consolidation of organizational resilience appreciated, in this case, by agility, integrity, and robustness. Some synergetic effects were identified through our research model between autonomy and agility as the most important dimensions here. An operational definition of organizational resilience is deduced according to which, this construct is ultimately related to agility as a key factor. Integrity and robustness are interrelated and combined on one dimension as a result of agility. Added to this, our research demonstrates that there is none bidirectional effect between these variables as supported in the literature. Organizational resilience can reinforce sustainable motivation too.


Organizational Resilience, Employee Sustainable Motivation, Motivation, Quantitative Methodology, Crisis.


Nowadays, firms faced unexpected events due to globalization which imposes a complex environment with an unexpected evolution (McCann et al., 2009). There are many examples of crises or difficulties which can disturb the organization's survival. In this context, organizational resilience can unsure of successful sustainability (Duchek et al., 2019).

Duchek (2014) defines organizational resilience as the ability to prevent threats, to manage it, and to learn from it to generate dynamic capability used to facilitate organizational change.

Independently of its definition and process, Sheffi (2005) argue that resilience permit to handle effectively crises which can produce and define competitive advantage and unsure sustainability (Coutu, 2002).

Välikangas & Romme (2013) conclude that the development of organizational resilience requires resources to build resilience capabilities such as positive relationships and financial resources. In this way, we suppose that the development of organizational resilience is directly related to the individual effort that is responsible for capabilities development and must interact in a specific way to generate resilience. Motivation, in this case, deserve our attention especially if we remember that motivation is a directive that enhances enthusiasm that orient and sustain employees’ efforts to make results. In fact, our interest exceeds the simple interest for motivation for a sustainable motivation due to the importance of this dimension of sustainability in this field. To be clearer, organizational resilience as defined in the beginning support the durability or the long-term perspective and it seems important to integrate this dimension at all levels of analysis.

During our literature review process, we didn’t find researchers who deal with a direct relationship between motivation and resilience. But we found some previous researches which demonstrate a positive effect of resilience on employee performance (Luthans et al., 2007), job satisfaction and work happiness for performance (Youssef & Luthans, 2007) which refers indirectly to motivation.

Rouse (2001) decided to identify the link between motivation and resilience in the academic field and demonstrate that motivated students are more resilient to others. The need for additional literature, in this field of research, explains our interest in this effect.

This paper retraces the evolution of existing literature review to define a specific research model able to highlights the process to develop organizational resilience through a sustainable motivation. We cannot define resilience or create it without individuals, but we can motivate individuals who can develop, maintain, and reinforce organizational resilience, and this is the general idea of this study.

To illustrate this idea, we will try. At the first time, to review and synthesize literature related to motivation and sustainability to extract definition and specificities of sustainable motivation as well as literature reported to organizational resilience. Then, we will develop a conceptual framework that integrates sustainable motivation and organizational resilience dimensions. After this, we will detail the methodology used for the hypothesis test, here we will present items, questionnaire, and sample. In the last part, results and discussion will be presented. Implications and limits as well as interests of this research will be speared upon the conclusion.

Literature Review

Organizational Resilience (OR)

As a concept organizational resilience is a composite process that integrates resilience as a specificity of organization. So, it seems important to define resilience for the first time to understand how an organization can gain resilience.

McManus et al., (2008) define resilience as a capacity of a system to ensure and assume change while continuing to operate; this supposes that sustainability is associated with resilience.

Goldschmidt et al., (2019) argue that resilience is an output that results from the interaction between the subject and the environment and this, according to two perspectives: individual and organizational resilience.

In this sense, Lengnick-Hall et al., (2011) presents OR as an ability to react appropriately to make a successful change and minimize its effect on an organization.

Mallak (1998) presented OR as an ability to adopt specific behaviors to adapt specific situation and assure the organization continuity.

Despite the diversity and the important number of definitions of OR, we will admit, in this case, that OR is an ability developed by individuals and groups according to an interactive perspective stimulus or situation and response on the appropriate time to overcome the difficult situation and permit the organization to survive.

Added to this, as shown, all definitions include an individual aspect on OR: ability, capacity or behaviors are all developed on an individual level.

To appreciate organizational resilience, we will adopt three main dimensions developed by Kantur & Say (2015) agility, integrity, and robustness.

Sustainable Motivation (SM)

Luthans (1998) present motivation as a process which stimulates, orient, and sustains desired behavior for performance. It is related to action and achievement of tasks as fixed with satisfaction and commitment (Magnano et al., 2016).

Stone et al., (2008) qualified this motivation as autonomous because it emerges from the person. This means that the individual can develop this process if he wants, it is a voluntary process.

Blašková (2018) concludes that "Sustainable motivation contains and explains the process of effectively achieving sustainable motivation, i.e., the motivation that is firm, lasting, constant, permanently renewed, improved, and strengthened, and brings new values and strategic competitive advantages". Based on this definition, some specific aspects of sustainable motivation must be detailed. The first is related to the nature of this motivation; it is dynamic and aims perfection for the long term. The second is reported to its role: it can be, at the same time, improvement and consolidation. The third and last conclusion here is represented by its object: researchers mentioned value, strategies, and competitive advantage; this supposed that this kind of motivation integrates internal and external environment, as well as the interaction.

Sustainable Motivation and Organizational Resilience

Satisfied employees are motivated to achieve goals and tasks which permit the progress of the organization and its success (Nnabuife, 2009). In other words, we can suppose that motivation reinforces resilience and encourage employees to continue until accomplishment.

To understand the link between sustainable motivation and organizational resilience, it is important to consider a dynamic approach of these concepts to identify interactions. In this state, we have to note that organizational resilience is developed through a process.

There is no consensus about the number and the nature of the stage of the resilience process, but they suggest all that this one integrates resources linked to outcomes by discrete elements (see, e.g., Linnenluecke & Griffiths, 2012; Williams et al., 2017).

Furthermore, another important aspect of this process that can help us to understand and build resilience through sustainable motivation is the importance of iterations during the evolution of this process and from crisis to another (Linnenluecke & Griffiths, 2012; Williams et al., 2017). For some research, resilience can be proactive if we anticipate before the crisis (Kendra & Wachtendorf, 2003; Burnard & Bhamra, 2011; Somers, 2009). This stage supposes that the organization holds capabilities to identify the probability of crisis through observation and be ready to overcome difficulties if they occur (Somers, 2009; Teixeira & Werther, 2013).

Sustainable motivation as defined by Deci et al., (1998) suppose the existence of self-development competencies that interact by relatedness according to a deliberate process can enhance anticipation as one of the primary steps of organizational resilience. Lengnick-Hall & Beck, (2005) confirm that as the capacity to anticipate is high as the ability to overcome successfully the critical situation is important.

H1. Sustainable motivation through competencies affects positively agility ant integrity

The second step consists of the development of the appropriate solution and implementation, this requires cooperative work, communication, and optimization of available resources (Duchek, 2014; Duchek et al., 2019). Some researchers insist the importance of team resources for the development of organizational resilience (Salanova et al., 2012; Carmeli et al., 2013) and remain the necessity to consider the organization as an integrative system in which the individual and collective behavior are critical to developing resilience (Williams et al., 2017).

Self-Determination Theory (SDT), developed by Deci & Ryan (1985) shows that there is an effect of socials relationships on individual behavior and this will be transmitted on organizational behavior.

H2. Relatedness as one of the determinants of sustainable motivation stimulates robustness

The third and last stage of the resilience process is based on the adaptation during which the organizations develop new capabilities and restore organization structure to stabilize functionalities (Lengnick-Hall & Beck, 2005). To assess this conception of organizational resilience, Vogus & Sutcliffe (2007) consider this concept, in this sense, as a dynamic capability for active adaptation.

Spreitzer & Doneson (2005) demonstrate that empowerment brings positive behaviors and motivated people, through this, are more able to overcome difficult situation or events.

Vallerand et al.,, (2008) consider that environment supporting autonomy generate a high level of autonomous motivation and define adaptive outcomes on the cognitive aspect and behavioral side. We have to remember that autonomous motivation is associated with sustainable motivation and that cognitive and behavioral aspects deal with organizational resilience as defined in the first part of this paper.

H3. Autonomy affects positively agility and integrity on the development of organizational resilience

The last idea defended here is related to the bidirectional effect between organizational resilience and sustainable motivation. In fact, if we suppose that organizational resilience makes organizations stronger and unsure durability, this can motivate employees and increases their commitment. It is simply clear that employees gain experiences through this difficult situation and enrich competencies.

H4. Organizational resilience reinforces competencies required for sustainable motivation

To conclude this theoretical stage, we will dress all hypotheses adopted on a conceptual framework represented in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Hypotheses Adopted on A Conceptual Framework


For the hypothesis test, and according to the nature of our objective, it seems more appropriate to adopt a quantitative approach based on a questionnaire.

The conception of this tool is carried out based on items defined on the existent literature and used previously to appreciate the value of each one. The questionnaire was transmitted and submitted on Google forms to facilitate the data collection. The link associated with this platform was sent to many groups on contacts who are working on some organizations situated in the city of Burayda in Saudi Arabia. The collecting data process is shared with one person to another for three months (with the beginning of the pandemic of COVID 19).

At all, 400 questionnaires were received. The data collected was exploited by SPSS 24 and AMOS 24. Two steps of analysis were operated: a components factor analysis and a confirmatory factor analysis. The third and last step was the hypothesis test through the structural model.

To appreciate variables, three dimensions are adopted for each variable. For organizational resilience, the scale adopted is composed of 9 items based on the work of Kantur & Say (2015) robustness as the first dimension is appreciated by four items; agility measured by three items and integrity is represented by two items.

Employee's sustainable motivation is appreciated by 12 items divided into three factors of sustainable motivation as defined by Deci et al., (1998) autonomy, competencies, and relatedness. Each dimension is composed of four items.

For each question, the respondent must indicate the degree of his agreement or disagreement with states according to a Likert-type scale with five points ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

Results and Discussion

The findings of this study will be detailed on three main steps: a descriptive analysis related to our sample, the exploratory analysis through component factors analysis to test validity and reliability, and the confirmatory analysis before the test of the structural model and the fit index significantly.

Our sample is composed of 62.5% male. The majority of respondents have an experience ranged about 2-4 years on his actual function (70%). We have to remember that organizations studied here belong to three main sectors: health (52.5%) education (37.5%) and oil (10%).

To make results reported to the exploratory approach clearer, we will detail axes, items, loadings, alpha de Cronbach and variance explained in Table 1.

Table 1: Exploratory Analysis
Variable Dimensions Items Factors Loadings Variance Explained Alpha KMO
Sustainable Motivation Competencies Comp1 0.75 9.92 0.71 0.643
Comp 2 0.48
Comp 3 0.61
Comp 4 0.48
Autonomy Auto 1 0.68 16.98 0.88
Auto 2 0.59
Auto 3 0.75
Auto 4 0.73
Relatedness Relt 1 0.52 14.45 0.85
Relt 2 0.71
Relt 3 0.55
Relt 4 0.69
Organizational Resilience Agility Agil 1 0.52 32.22 0.89 0.80
Agil 2 0.73
Agil 3 0.57
Robustness Rob 1 0.64 12.14 0.75
Rob 2 0.79
Rob 3 0.62
Rob4 0.61
Integrity Int 1 0.52
Int 2 0.67

The organizational resilience, in our sample is composed only of two dimensions. Robustness and integrity were combined on only one axis. But as we can see agility is the most important for organizational resilience in this case.

Figure 2 represents the result of the structural model as a hypothesis determined by the literature review. In this case, hypothesis 4 is rejected. The hypothesis reported on the effect of relatedness on robustness is rejected too. All fit index seems to be acceptable but we think that this structural model must be reformulated according to the result of the exploratory analysis: combinate two dimensions integrity and robustness. Another important result is the positive correlation between dimensions of sustainable motivation.

Figure 2: Structural Model and Hypothesis Test

Figure 3 represents the new version of the model constructed based on the result of the exploratory approach. In this case, the fit index is more acceptable. The interdependence between dimensions of sustainable motivation is not acceptable yet (Table 2).

Figure 3: New Structural Model

Table 2: Hypothesis Test
Hypothesis β Status
H1 : Competencies affect agility 9.56 Accepted
H2 : Competencies affect positively (integrity- robustness) 0.57 Accepted
H3 : Autonomy affect agility 6.65 Accepted
H4 : Autonomy affect positively (integrity- robustness) 0.05 Rejected
H5 : Relatedness  affect agility 0.38 Accepted
H6 : Relatedness affect positively (integrity- robustness) -0.13 Rejected


The present study analyzed the effect of sustainable motivation on organizational resilience. For this purpose, we dressed a theoretical framework that retraces the different and possible relationships between dimensions of each construct based on the existent literature review related to resilience, organizational resilience, motivation, sustainability, and sustainable motivation. The findings show an interactive approach between agility as determinants of sustainable motivation and integrity and agility for organizational resilience. A positive effect is also significant between relatedness and robustness. Our study shows that a simultaneous effect exist insofar organizational resilience reinforce sustainable motivation through the accumulation of experiences.

Furthermore, the study can enrich the existing literature and provide a critical pathway for organizational resilience through adequate sustainable motivation. The value of our research regains its importance in the current situation with a crisis caused by a coronavirus.


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