System Resilience

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Standard Definition

ISO 28002:2011

The definition included is the same as the one in ISO Guide 73 (see Organisational Resilience). However, the standard notes:

Resilience is the capability of a system to maintain its functions and structure in the face of internal and external change and to degrade gracefully when it must. [1]

Other definitions


Resilience is a process to estimate how fast a variable that has been displaced from equilibrium returns to it . Therefore, resilience can be estimated by a return time, the amount of time taken for the displacement to decay to some specified fraction of its own initial value[2]. Similarly, resilience focuses on a system's behavior near a stable equilibrium and the rate at which a system returns to steady state following disturbance; Resisting change and disturbances in order to conserve what you have. [3]

Resilience focuses on efficiency, constancy, and predictability, and concentrates on stability near an equilibrium steady state, where resistance to disturbance and speed of return to the equilibrium are used to measure the property . [4]

Resilience is an outcome, the capacity of the system to cope with unanticipated danger after they have become manifested, learning to bounce back. Resilience is an inferior strategy under strict conditions. [5]

Resilience is the ability of the system to withstand a major disruption within an acceptable degradation of parameters and to recover at acceptable time, cost and risks[6]. Resilience is a state of a system's capacity to withstand forced changes to its organizational structure, functionality, and operational continuity.

A resilient control system is one that maintains state awareness and an accepted level of operational normalcy in response to disturbances, including threats of an unexpected and malicious nature . [7]

According to MCEER, resilience is ‘‘the ability of the system to reduce the chances of shock, to absorb a shock if it occurs and to recover quickly after a shock (re-establish normal performance)’’. [8]

Resilience in the research field of resilience engineering refers to the intrinsic ability of a system to adjust its functioning prior to, during, or following changes and disturbances, so that it can sustain required operations under both expected and unexpected conditions. [9]

See also


  1. ISO 28001:2001 Security management systems for the supply chain -- Development of Resilience in the supply chain -- Requirements with guidance for use.
  2. Pimm, S. L. (1991). The Balance of Nature? Issues in the Species and Communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  3. Folke, C. (2006). Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses. Global Environmental Change, 16(3), 253–267.
  4. Holling, C. S. (1996). Engineering resilience versus ecological resilience. In P. Schulze (eds.). Engineering Within Ecological Constraints. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
  5. Wildavsky, A. (1991). Searching for Safety. Transaction, New Brunswick, NJ.
  6. [ Haimes, Y. Y. (2009). On the definition of resilience in systems. Risk Analysis, 29(4), 498–501.]
  7. Craig G. Rieger, David I. Gertman, Miles. A. McQueen, Resilient Control Systems: Next Generation Design Research, HSI 2009 Catania, Italy, May 21-23, 2009.
  8. [ttp:// Bruneau, M., Chang, S. E., Eguchi, R. T., Lee, G. C., O’Rourke, T. D., Reinhorn, A. M., … Von Winterfeldt, D. (2003). A Framework to Quantitatively Assess and Enhance the Seismic Resilience of Communities. Earthquake Spectra, 19(4), 733–752. ]
  9. Hollnagel, Erik. 2011. Prologue: the scope of resilience engineering. In: Hollnagel, E. Pariès, J. Woods, D.D. Wreathall, J., eds. Resilience engineering in practice: A guidebook. Surrey: Ashgate, pp. xxix-xxxix.