Disaster-Related Emergent Citizen Groups: An Examination Of Their Relationships To Other Organizations

Green, Kenneth E.
Neal, David M.
Quarantelli, E. L.
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Disaster Research Center
Citizen response to adverse or potentially adverse situations has been a growing phenomenon since the 1970’s (Boyte, 1980; Henig, 1982). Issues regarding these situations may include consumerism, anti-crime, riot mitigation, the environment, and natural or man-caused disasters. In order to accomplish various tasks in regard to these various issues, grass roots social movement organizations (SMO’s) are often mobilized by concerned citizens. Using data from a nationwide study we look at the relationship between one type of SMO, an emergent citizen group (ECG) in a disaster –related situation, and selected key local organizations. In this analysis, a collective behavior and organizational approach are combined. This tack allows us to analyze the ECG as it develop within its organizational set (see Evan, 1976), and even analyze the emergence of an organizational set (see Ross, 1980). Using the ECG as our focal organization we look at the dominant direction of the flow of information between it and the key organizations as a fundamental factor of influence within the issue-organization set. The consequences of the ECG’s legitimacy and successes are then discussed in light of the patterns of relations or characteristics with the other members of the organizational set.
Emergent Citizen Groups , citizen response ,