Date of Completion


Embargo Period



resilience, team, military, process, grounded theory

Major Advisor

Robert A. Henning, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Janet Barnes-Farrell, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Nancy Naples, Ph.D.

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


In order to develop a scientific understanding of team resilience, the three primary goals of the current research effort were to (1) summarize the research literature on resilience in and of small groups and systems, (2) articulate a framework to direct the synthesis of existing and future resilience-related research, and (3) construct a substantive theory of team resilience. This exploratory research used a grounded theory approach to explore resilience phenomena experienced by small unit members in the US Army. Participants were sampled from military occupational specialties within Combat Arms, as classified by the US Army Regimental System, and included members of small units from Air Defense Artillery, Armor, Aviation, Field Artillery, and Infantry. Herein, team is used to refer to a bounded group of US Army Soldiers working together toward a shared functional goal (e.g., tasking, mission). Review of the cross-disciplinary literature on resilience in and of teams suggested multiple, plausible and sometimes competing conceptualizations of team resilience. The resulting Team Resilience Framework that was developed as part of this study identifies five key components that can be used to clarify and organize varied conceptualizations of team resilience: 1) who (of whom), 2) what (to what), 3) why (for what), 4) when (at what time), and 5) where (under what circumstances). The Team Resilience Framework was applied in this study and resulted in a rich description of the context in which team resilience occurs. Qualitative analysis of interview and focus group transcripts indicate that team resilience is an iterative process of managing disruptor cues, disruptors, and disruptions which includes five primary action phases: specification, mobilization, detection, determination (adjustment, as necessary); and reset. Important elements and influential factors are associated with each phase of the process. Study findings from this foundational research contribute to an enriched understanding of team resilience generally, and also can be used more specifically to articulate an operationalization of small unit (team) resilience that best suits the needs of the US Army. Other practical applications and implications for future research are also discussed.

Available for download on Sunday, January 28, 2018