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Christopher Bryan

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Deirdre O’Shea (KBS); Tadhg MacIntyre (PESS)
Working Title of Thesis: 
“Creating a sustainable high performance environment: Parallel processes of dealing with setbacks in top entrepreneurs and elite athletes”

Through the unpredictable nature of any competitive environment top organisations and individuals go beyond merely scraping through times of instability and adversity. Instead they learn to thrive and capitalise on this inevitable everyday change and uncertainty in order to grow and adapt within life and venture efforts. It is the ability to persist and grow despite both significant and common set-backs, which organisations must focus to recruit, develop and promote in order to rise and remain at the top.
The aim of this research is to investigate parallel psychological resources that are fundamental to sustained performance and persistence amongst both elite athletes and
Entrepreneurs. Psychological resources are increasingly viewed as success factors in high achievement contexts (Frese, 2009; Halbesleben, Neveu, Paustian-Underdahl, & Westman, 2014). Achievement contexts, referring to any environment in which an individual has goals and performance requirements, place a large burden on individual’s resources (Halbesleben et al., 2014). Psychological resources comprise cognition's, motivation, emotions and behaviours that aid performance and/or psychological well-being (Martin, Karanika‐Murray, Biron, & Sanderson, 2014). Psychological resources have been likened to muscles in their ability to tire, but also to become stronger with practice in order to perform better for longer (Muraven & Baumeister, 2000). Under the lens of resilience, the research focuses on the process of sustained success and examines in practice how resilience is developed and regulated over time in response to set-backs and adversity. Drawing on theories of self-regulation, psychological resources and their development, we focus on resilience and develop a theoretical framework for its development over time. Egeland et al. (1993) argue that resilience develops over time in the context of person environment interactions and as a result of successfully navigating barriers and adversity.
We propose that resilience is a key resource required for individuals to regulate their persistence and action, resulting in excellence in high-performance contexts, facilitating long-term goal pursuit (Bateman & Barry, 2012), and aiding individuals in dealing with these stressors and setbacks. Previous research has demonstrated that resilience is amenable to change, and can buffer against the effects of stress (Galli & Vealey, 2008) and aid performance (Youssef & Luthans, 2007). Entrepreneurs who can enhance their resilience through deliberate practice have greater capacity to pursue new venture success. Similarly, high resilience in young athletes has been positively associated with both performance outcomes and process persistence, increasing the likelihood of getting to the top (Collins, 2012).

Publications/presentations to date: 

Bryan, C. MacIntyre, T. & O’Shea, D. (2015). Resilience as a resource toward sustainable success. Oral presentation as part of the symposium “Anything is Possible – Synergistic Psychological resources between Work and Sport” at 17th Congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20th – 23rd May.

Resilience, performance, psychology, organisations, well-being
Details of any scholarships/funding received: 
U.L. Sport funding research fees in co-ordination with establishing a workshop series entitled: “Importance of Resilience: Sport does so much more than create elite athletes”
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