Organizational Innovation in Anticipation of Crisis: Some Possible Studies

Weller, Jack M.
Kreps, Gary A.
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Disaster Research Center
We want to express as explicitly as possible the current direction of our thoughts about DRC’s study of organizational changes designed to meet the problems of response to community crisis. The most important reason for expression of these tentative and diffuse ideas is to provoke responses about their relevance, fruitfulness, and omissions; most of all a push in a fruitful direction would be appreciated. The baselines for our current thinking derive from DRC’s and personal experiences in various crisis-relevant organizations (police, fire, hospitals, etc. which have been observed to change plans, policies, organizational structure, etc. because of anticipation of possible crisis response; and the literature on organizations. DRC’s research experience, through our selective perceptions, indicated low levels of change in disaster-relevant organizations even after experience of disaster has clearly demonstrated the shortcomings of current organizational plans and preparations. It has also indicated relatively high levels of innovation in anticipation of possible civil disturbances, even in some cases where community factors make them seem unlikely. Presently, important research goals would seem to be development of more extensive and systematic data on the empirical distributions and patterns of organizational innovation in anticipation of crisis and attempts at ordering possible factors which may account for the empirical similarities and differences in organizational innovation.
research , community crisis , organizational innovation