Resilience at Work: An exploration of the process of resilience with marketing agency professionals
Blasdel, Tracy Richardson
University of Kansas
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Professionals who work in marketing communication agencies face the challenge of continuously producing creative work while facing nearly constant critique, feedback, and rejection from clients and colleagues. Frequent messages of criticism combined with fierce competition, demand for creativity, tight deadlines, and long work hours makes careers in this field stressful for the practitioner. Despite critique and rejection, these professionals must recover from setbacks and bring new work and new ideas to their clients on a routine basis. This study explored the process of resilience with marketing communication professionals who have encountered setbacks on the job using in-depth interviews (N=22). These interviews yielded in-depth accounts of the types of situations that serve as trigger or springboard events for individual resilience and the strategies and processes participants report they call upon to recover from setbacks. Despite the fact that researchers now believe resilience is important for job success and at least in part something that can be developed, very little research has been dedicated to how individuals can develop their own capacities for resilience and how people, such as managers, could help develop the capacity in others. This research adds to the emerging body of literature on individual resilience in the workplace. Findings demonstrate there are general strategies used by professionals with experience to bounce back from setbacks at work. This research makes theoretical contributions to the developing body of resilience literature by exploring the communicative tools and strategies used by those who report to be able to successfully tap into their own resilience and by providing qualitative evidence that resilience is a developable capacity. This research adds to the agency literature by exploring the normative nature of client incivility and how it may contribute to the industry’s high turnover and by offering a new application of the concept of client capture. This research also adds to the agency literature by presenting the voice of the account manager, which is notably absent in much of the recent agency literature. This research also offers practical implications. In particular, this research offers specific strategies that can be enacted by individuals and modeled by managers to help them bounce back from adversity and develop the capacity for resilience.
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