Emergent Behavior And Groups In The Crisis Time Of Disasters

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Disaster Research Center
As a contribution to the study of elementary collective behavior, this paper summarizes our research on emergent behaviors and groups in the crisis time of disasters. Although disaster researchers have observed emergent social phenomenon since the initial development of the field in the 1950s, until recently there has not been systematic study of the topic. In the 1960s, researchers at the Disaster Research Center (DRC) developed a sociologically grounded fourfold typology of organized behavior in disasters. Building on that work, we undertook to study the full range of possible emergent phenomenon. The most important finding by far was that even in organizations and groups that were not emergent, there was within them nonetheless considerable behavioral emergence. We use this observation to develop a new typology of emergence that places emergent behaviors within the same analytical framework as emergent groups. Although our research focused on the characteristics of emergent phenomena, we also advance general hypotheses about the social factors involved in emergence. Among our concluding remarks is the observation that although disaster research on emergence has both informed and been informed by the sociological subfield of collective behavior, an even stronger link would be desirable.
Disaster, Emergent Behavior, organized behavior, groups