Toward General Principles for Resilience Engineering

David J. Yu, Michael L. Schoon, Jason K. Hawes, Seungyoon Lee, Jeryang Park, P. Suresh C. Rao, Laura K. Siebeneck, Satish V. Ukkusuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Maintaining the performance of infrastructure-dependent systems in the face of surprises and unknowable risks is a grand challenge. Addressing this issue requires a better understanding of enabling conditions or principles that promote system resilience in a universal way. In this study, a set of such principles is interpreted as a group of interrelated conditions or organizational qualities that, taken together, engender system resilience. The field of resilience engineering identifies basic system or organizational qualities (e.g., abilities for learning) that are associated with enhanced general resilience and has packaged them into a set of principles that should be fostered. However, supporting conditions that give rise to such first-order system qualities remain elusive in the field. An integrative understanding of how such conditions co-occur and fit together to bring about resilience, therefore, has been less clear. This article contributes to addressing this gap by identifying a potentially more comprehensive set of principles for building general resilience in infrastructure-dependent systems. In approaching this aim, we organize scattered notions from across the literature. To reflect the partly self-organizing nature of infrastructure-dependent systems, we compare and synthesize two lines of research on resilience: resilience engineering and social-ecological system resilience. Although some of the principles discussed within the two fields overlap, there are some nuanced differences. By comparing and synthesizing the knowledge developed in them, we recommend an updated set of resilience-enhancing principles for infrastructure-dependent systems. In addition to proposing an expanded list of principles, we illustrate how these principles can co-occur and their interdependencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1509-1537
Number of pages29
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Adaptive management and governance
  • principles for resilience engineering
  • self-organization
  • social-ecological system resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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