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Planning for judgement day: Restrictions of government planning for avian influenza

Thomas Gstraunthaler (Institute of Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Innsbruck University, Innsbruck, Austria)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine the organization and execution of the planning process of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The focus is placed on the different stakeholders involved and their role in the decision‐making process.


The research involves content analysis of the available paperwork and interviews with leading personnel of DEFRA.


The organization of the planning process ensures strong involvement of the industry. As the financial resources of DEFRA are limited, parts of the costs of the process are passed on to the industry, which allow it to play a stronger role. By delegating major tasks to other organizations DEFRA lacks control of the execution of its decisions.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited by the view of the interviewed persons. As it is a pre‐impact study, people could act in a different manner than originally stated if an outbreak should occur.

Practical implications

Through identifying the motivations of participating actors, it was demonstrated that this system is prone to the same failures as already shown in the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis. It is discussed if the role of government planning is really necessary or if the whole task could be done by the industry.


The paper is a pre‐impact study and will contribute to the debate about the system in general.



Gstraunthaler, T. (2008), "Planning for judgement day: Restrictions of government planning for avian influenza", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 199-211.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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