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Risk, the COVID‐19 pandemic, and organisations: extending, repurposing, and developing theory.

Soane, Emma; Flin, Rhona; Macrae, Carl; Reader, Tom W.


Emma Soane

Carl Macrae

Tom W. Reader


The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged and changed organisations. While the pandemic has brought opportunities for business in some sectors, such as information and communication, and for people who enjoy the flexibility they gain from home-based or hybrid work arrangements, the realisation of benefits for individuals and organisations is uncertain over longer time periods and distributed unevenly across the workforce. Thus, the pandemic situation has been a trigger, albeit an unwelcome one, for revising our theorising about organisational risk. We build on the articles within our special section and develop a perspective on how to continue the development of new theoretical insights. First, we examine how existing theories can be extended to encompass organisational risk. We focus on theories of organisational culture to do so. Second, we discuss ways that existing theories can be repurposed to address important challenges. We illustrate our points using paradoxical leadership theory and theories of creativity. Third, we reflect on ways to develop new theorising by exploring multilevel modelling and the microfoundations of organisational risk. Fourth, we reflect on methods. In doing so, we pave the way for future studies that will enrich our understanding of organisational risk and contribute to preparations for future crises.


SOANE, E., FLIN, R., MACRAE, C. and READER, T.W. 2023. Risk, the COVID-19 pandemic, and organisations: extending, repurposing, and developing theory. Journal of occupational and organizational psychology [online], Early View. Available from:

Journal Article Type Commentary
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 28, 2023
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2023
Journal Journal of occupational and organizational psychology
Print ISSN 0963-1798
Electronic ISSN 2044-8325
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Creativity; Culture; Leadership; Microfoundations; Research methods; Risk; COVID-19 pandemic
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SOANE 2023 Risk the COVID-19 pandemic (392 Kb)

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© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd on behalf of The British Psychological Society.

Early View VOR version uploaded 2023.08.01

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