This paper shows how organizational waste and processes of bricolage have an important role in the functioning of public organizations, and how this is essential to innovation, organisational resilience and survival. This paper largely builds on the work of organisation theorist Karl E. Weick and his work on bricolage and improvisation more specifically. The paper is conceptual in nature, and outlines the characteristics of the concept of bricolage, and the organisational requirements for bricolage to emerge and flourish. It shows how organisations that are over-proceduralised or over-organised leave little space for the emergence of solutions and actions. This has negative consequences for organisational learning and for innovation, and, ultimately, for organizations' capability to deal with crises. Organisational memory, a certain degree of discretion, waste and redundancy are crucial for organisations' long-term survival.

Bricolage, Crisis, Emergence, Improvisation, Innovation, Organisational memory, Resilience
Innovation Journal
Department of Public Administration

Van de Walle, S.G.J. (2014). Building resilience in public organizations: The role of waste and bricolage. Innovation Journal, 19(2). Retrieved from