An Assessment of Institutional Resilience Capacity of the Local Public Administration: Evidence from Romania
Over time, the Romanian society has experienced different shocks, disruptions and stressors ranging from the fall of communism, transition to a market economy, European Union accession, development of new institutions, the necessity for rapid solutions to the economic crisis, and the most recent one, the COVID-19 pandemic and its outcomes. The pandemic showed the need to develop and strengthen the resilience capacity of the public organisations that play important roles in managing all sorts of crises, including at the local level. Institutional resilience of the local public administration depends on a series of factors such as the design of the institutions, the human resources training process, and the organisational culture that dominates the institutional framework. In this respect, taking into consideration different factors that might influence resilience in public organisations, the present pilot study investigated the concept of institutional resilience in the Romanian local public administration starting from a conceptual framework for assessing the resilience capacity previously designed by the authors. The objective of the research was to assess the capacity of institutional resilience in the local public administration, namely in two of the six District Halls of the Bucharest Municipality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the results, the research instrument will be improved and the study will be extended to other organisations from the public administration. The capacity of institutional resilience in the local public administration was measured using four dimensions, created based on the resilience framework developed by the authors: capacity for innovation and learning, strategic capacity, stakeholders’ involvement in decision-making, and transparency and communication. The research was conducted in a comparative manner, aiming to establish if there were any differences between the capacity of institutional resilience in the two District Halls. The research revealed that both District Halls proved a medium to high level of resilience. District Hall 3 exhibited a higher capacity of resilience compared with District Hall 2, with the remark that both organisations should improve the factors that influence this capacity.