Self-organization and its role in building disaster resilience

Authored by: Nirmita Mehrotra

The Routledge Companion to Risk, Crisis and Security in Business

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138643109
eBook ISBN: 9781315629520
Adobe ISBN:


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The emphasis of this chapter is that crisis management must reinvent its foundations to be truly operational, particularly to address the role of emerging groups in the process of recovery from catastrophic events. This concept relates to the work of Lagadec and Topper (2012). Lalonde (2004) pointed to emergence of new leaders at the level of local community as a disaster unfolds over time. Resilience is an attribute of emergence, enacted through local actors and individual organizations. The framework for assessment of resilience is deduced from the phenomenon of self-organization in complex, chaotic environments. These new leaders may not be part of a hierarchical response system; however, they drive the reconfiguration of the organization, pushing for nonlinear interaction to seek order. Cutter et al. (2010) point to the shifts from vulnerability to disaster resilience as a more proactive and positive expression of community engagement. This is done through implementation of a program of change through institutional flexibility and by absorbing technological, economic and social changes.

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